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Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the state of New Jersey

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Marijuana is still a very controversial issue in New Jersey.

Cortesy of Getty Images

Marijuana is still a very controversial issue in New Jersey.

Cannabis, popularly known as marijuana, is the most commonly used medical and recreational drug in the country. States such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, allow recreational use of marijuana at the age of 21. It is also legal in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Recreational use of marijuana should also be legalized in New Jersey.

Marijuana is derived by drying out of Cannabis sativa leaves, a plant that is soaked in over 400 chemicals, one of them being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the main chemical compound that provides a person with a euphoric “high,” the sensation one gets when under the influence of marijuana. During his inauguration speech in January, Governor Philip D. Murphy promised full legalization of marijuana in the state of New Jersey. Now in office, state legislators have raised concerns, putting legislation on the back-burner. Currently, medical usage of marijuana is legal in New Jersey, but recreational is not. There has been continuous campaigning from state officials and residents in New Jersey, and the recreational use of marijuana should be legalized.

Governor Murphy campaigned legalization of marijuana as a social justice issue by arguing that it will reduce the number of unnecessary drug-prosecutions, especially among younger users. This is important as these senseless charges can follow users for the rest of their lives. The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that there were 19.8 million past month users throughout the United States. This shows the great extent of marijuana’s popularity. In general, the decriminalization of marijuana will prevent numerous non-violent users from filling New Jersey’s jail systems.

Although marijuana is strongly viewed as a “gateway drug,” it does have several medical benefits. “Marijuana could greatly reduce the demand for narcotics and simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses,” said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Medical Correspondent for CNN.

There are also studies that have been conducted in Israel, Spain and the U.S. that suggest the compounds in cannabis could even kill cancer cells. Studies show that CBD (Cannabidiol) can stop cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1. Besides killing cancer cells, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association said, “Marijuana does not impair lung function and can even increase lung capacity.” Despite the many critics of marijuana usage, the drug shows multiple benefits.

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Researchers say that the increase in lung capacity may be due to taking deep breaths while inhaling the drug, not from any therapeutic chemicals in it. The legalization of recreational use of marijuana shows no harm unless abused, in which case, New Jersey can implement other steps to regulate the amount and access one can have to the drug. For example, New Jersey can place high taxes on marijuana to bring in large amounts of revenue for the state, while still keeping users in check for the amount of marijuana they are purchasing.

Legalization of marijuana must come to New Jersey. Current standards are deeply flawed and outdated, and they need to be revised.

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Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in the state of New Jersey