the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Senator Gerald Cardinale, (R-39) the ranking Republican on the State Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following response to two pro-marijuana editorials published this week on NJ.com and NorthJersey.com:
“It is incredibly disappointing that two of the most-widely read news sources in our state are spouting misinformation, and going out of their way to hide data that clearly illustrates the grave consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use,” Senator Gerald Cardinale said.
“A March 20 editorial on NorthJersey.com notes that the experience of legalization has been ‘overwhelmingly positive’ in other states. We know this is not true.
“In Colorado, marijuana-related motor vehicle fatalities skyrocketed following legalization. It would be even worse in New Jersey, because of our population density and high traffic levels. Our State Association of Chiefs of Police opposes legalization because they simply don’t have the resources, technology, or personnel to combat a drastic increase in drugged driving.
“Both editorials also pointed to social justice issues as a reason for passing the bill – but in Colorado, a 2016 study by the State Dept. of Public Safety showed that there was actually a spike in youth arrests immediately following legalization, with the highest rates of arrests disproportionately impacting minority youths. Although those rates have since leveled off, the initial overall spike in kids using and getting arrested for marijuana is cause for alarm. That same study also showed that youth usage of marijuana in Colorado is above the national average.
“Ask any parent if they want to put their kid at an increased risk of trying a mind-altering drug and I guarantee they will tell you ‘no,’ but that is exactly what will happen if we legalize the drug here. Just look at the facts. Peer-reviewed studies show that marijuana can cause permanent damage to developing brains. Why would we go out of our way to put the future leaders of our state at risk?
“I agree that we need to take action to combat the racial disparity in marijuana arrests, but the answer isn’t to legalize a drug. If you want real social justice reform, then remove prosecutors and judges who are showing a racial bias. Don’t put more innocent kids, pedestrians, and drivers in harm’s way.
“I do agree with one line in the NorthJersey.com editorial – marijuana legalization will not ‘cure all the ills facing New Jersey.’ In fact, it will make us a much sicker state. Every Senator and Assembly representative must vote no. It’s the right thing to do.”