Home Commentary Don’t Allow Recreational Marijuana to Devastate the Garden State

Don’t Allow Recreational Marijuana to Devastate the Garden State

Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Editor’s note: The following editorial was adapted from the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey’s recent Action Alert. 

By Shawn Hyland

We have both good news and an urgent request for you to take action.

The good news is that the NJ State Senate was unable to secure enough votes to legalize recreational marijuana. In a rare bipartisan moment, a majority of state senators agreed that recreational marijuana will ruin lives, put at risk public safety, and target urban centers. Expert testimonies from law enforcement, medical professionals and senate colleagues from underserved minority districts convinced our elected officials that legalization is irresponsible.

The hard facts reveal why many oppose recreational marijuana:

  • Fatal traffic crashes in Colorado increased 88% since legalization. (Migoya, 2017)
  • Seventy-six percent of all Driving Under the Influence of Drugs incidents in Colorado involved marijuana. (Colorado State Patrol, 2017)
  • Marijuana is the number-one substance now found in suicides of young people in Colorado who are 10 to 19 years old. (Marijuana and Violence, David Evans, Esq.)
  • The average rate of regular teen marijuana use in the legalized states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington is 30 percent higher than the U.S rate as a whole. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2006-2017)

Despite overwhelming evidence, if Senate President Steve Sweeney and Governor Murphy have their way, the reckless pursuit of recreational marijuana will now be put to a 2020 ballot referendum. We must not allow these senators to abdicate their representational responsibilities. They cannot “wash their hands” and have NJ residents, many of whom are uninformed of the facts, be influenced by tens of millions of dollars pouring into the state next year by Big Tobacco.

Please send your state senator and assembly members a message with just a click here. Your action is needed to let them know that you do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana as a ballot referendum. And please share this with others as well while we still have a chance to stop the devastation from coming to our state!


Shawn Hyland is the Director of Advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey.