So much for democracy.
The drug pushers in Trenton will not be denied their share of the illegal market for marijuana. Having failed to get a majority of the people’s representatives in the Legislature to approve a state-created industry selling marijuana for pleasure use, the Democrats controlling government have chosen to flood the state with bogus “medical” marijuana instead.
Senate President Steve Sweeney called the vast expansion of “medical” marijuana and elimination of any meaningful basis for prescribing it “just a back door” to legalizing the mind-altering drug for recreational use. “If you have an itch, you’re going to get a prescription,” he told the USA Today Network. “I think we’re saying ‘medical’ to basically get to legalization, to be perfectly honest with you.”
The bill being rushed through the Legislature drops the requirement that a doctor have a relationship with a patient before providing marijuana, and allows them, physician assistants and some nurses to prescribe 3 ounces of pot per month to any adult. State permits to develop “medical” cannabis operations will jump from 12 to 23.
Yet marijuana hasn’t been federally approved for any use. It’s a toxin that impairs judgment and driving ability, and a National Academy of Medicine report says there is substantial evidence that it increases the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a 10th of marijuana users become addicted, and for those who begin using before adulthood, 1 in 6 become addicts.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says long-term cannabis use can have permanent effects on the developing brains of adolescents and young adults. The drug impairs learning, memory and attention, causing damage that may last even after people stop using it. The nation’s leading scientists also say more research may show that marijuana can trigger heart attacks and strokes, decrease immune system function and lead to using other drugs.
No wonder the Medical Society of New Jersey opposes legalizing marijuana. “Creating an entire new industry to sell an intoxicating product to adult users is antithetical to improving the health status of our citizenry,” it said.
How cynical, then, that Sweeney, Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin are pushing phony “medical” marijuana in pursuit of tax and fee profits from a great expansion of the market for this still federally illegal narcotic.
Marijuana has never been approved for use as a medicine, and has never undergone a controlled trial to demonstrate its effectiveness in treating any condition.
Yet now New Jersey’s political leaders will unleash a wave of marijuana users on the state’s health-care providers, seeking a harmful and still-illegal drug. And law enforcement in the state will somehow have to distinguish between bogus “medical” marijuana and the drug in the black market, which will greatly expand as it has in other legal pot states.
Instead of curbing their own appetites for excessive spending and wasteful government practices, these Democratic leaders will undermine medicine and the law to get their hands on a little drug revenue.
Shame only begins to describe what they lack as servants of the public’s health and interests.