PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — New Jersey approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use with more than two-thirds of people voting in favor of it. Advocates say it addresses social injustice issues and helps the economy, but many in the medical community are against the measure.
The amendment is approved, but it could take years for recreational marijuana to be available in New Jersey. State lawmakers now have to pass legislation to implement the new policy.
Legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey aims to fix the judicial inequity of minorities being more likely to be arrested for drug possession.
“It addresses a lot of social injustices and gets us on the road to social justice,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
There’s a big money component with taxes and more.
“It’s going to be an economic driver, a revenue driver and more importantly, a jobs driver,” Murphy said.
But the Medical Society of New Jersey opposed legalizing recreational marijuana, saying there’s not enough research to prove it’s safe. One study found pot can impact the heart and interfere with commonly prescribed cardiac medications.
“Vaping increases the drug delivery of marijuana so we anticipate the cardiovascular effects would also be enhanced,” Dr. Muthiah Vaduganathan said.
Smoking marijuana is linked with increased heart rate and blood pressure, altered heart muscle and vessels, and an increased risk for abnormal heart rhythms.
There are also concerns about people driving while high.
“We know that using marijuana can affect things like your coordination, or your reaction time and those are critical functions for driving,” Erin Bonar, University of Michigan Addiction Center, said.
For medical uses, marijuana has been shown to help with things like pain control, anxiety and insomnia, but doctors say there’s a big difference between recreational use to get high and medical marijuana that’s prescribed by a doctor, medicinal uses are now being legal in many states.
Remember, it’s not legal to sell or use marijuana recreationally yet in New Jersey, but when everything is worked out, the state is expected to allow people from other states to buy pot there.
But federal and Pennsylvania state laws won’t allow it to be transported across state lines.
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