After the Legislative leadership postponed the vote ending cannabis prohibition on March 25th, headlines in the papers claimed, “Effort to Legalize Cannabis Collapses,” and “Marijuana Vote Postponement a Major Blow to Legalization Movement.” Everyday, conversations and negotiations continue amongst leadership, their staff and certain legislators to address the issues they need addressed. As we’ve said many times in the past, ending 81 years of prohibition takes time and won’t happen overnight.
So, What’s Next?
The three main components of the legislative package that are awaiting renewed action in May, include the expansion of the medical program, adult-use legalization, and expungement reform. These three bills have been tied together because each adds value to the other. The thought is, by doing one by itself, we may devalue the total package and delay full reform, which is the chief objective. So, the main focus of the NJCBA and our peer organizations is to continue to provide information and education. Not just to legislators, but to community leaders and voters. For example, parents and community leaders are generally concerned about teenage use, impaired driving and crime – as they should be.
Fortunately, we are learning that education, regulation and enforcement are having a positive impact on states that have legalized:
- Teenage use is at a 20-year low. 33 states have legalized cannabis in some form, and yet, we are at a 20-year low when it comes to teenage use. In fact, before legalization, Colorado teens were number one when it came to cannabis use. Several years after legalization, they dropped to seven.
- Driving fatality rates do not statistically increase differently in states that legalize cannabis than those who have not. There are competing studies regarding the impact of legalization and traffic fatalities. To resolve the inconsistency, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health eliminated all factors in a traffic fatality (texting while driving, animal jumping out, alcohol, cannabis, etc) and just examined if there was a spike in traffic deaths that occurred in states that legalized cannabis and states that have not. Findings? No difference.
- Crime actually goes down near cannabis dispensaries. Dispensaries have a significant amount of security between cameras and personnel. The truth is, if crime around dispensaries were an actual issue, we would know it because we already have operating dispensaries in New Jersey.
Sharing this type of data is part of the reason why polls continue to climb in favor of legalization.We have a few weeks in front of us to continue to dispel outdated fears, stereotypes, and address concerns. But we cannot do this alone – we need your help.
“It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over”
So while we are excited and optimistic about getting major reforms enacted in May, we can’t let our guard down. We must continue to do our part.Since we launched our letter writing campaign, we’ve had more than 2,200 emails go out to legislators’ offices.Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Coughlin and the legislative sponsors are all working non-stop on this effort and we all must continue to do our part.In less than two minutes, just by clicking on the image below, you will be redirected to our Call to Action page and have an email into your legislators’ offices.
That email, those two minutes, could be the one that convinces your elected officials to support cannabis legalization.
Two minutes – that’s all it takes.
There are organized groups, opposed to legalization, that are well funded and have long ties to Big Pharma. Non-profit groups like the NJCBA cannot compete dollar-for-dollar with our thousands compared to their millions. But what we can do is use facts, energy, grassroots support and you.We know 62% of New Jersey voters support legalization. But your legislator doesn’t know where you stand. That matters. So, while we are out criss-crossing the state and going into towns and meeting with community groups, if you simply click on the link above and reach out to your legislators, you will be a big part of getting this across the finish line in May. More than 2,200 emails have already been sent but we need more. We need you.
(This article is shared from https://newjerseycannabusiness.com/)