Now the legal weed is being held back by a mushroom follower. Only in Trenton | Editorial

0


Decriminalization of marijuana was on the 5-yard line on Monday, when an anonymous lawmaker decided it would be a good idea to incorporate lighter penalties for magic mushrooms into the Senate version of the bill.

Unsurprisingly, the Assembly responded to this amendment by dropping the bill as if it were a bag of hot bees. ?

It has nothing to do with the potential benefits of psilocybin, whether for therapeutic or recreational purposes – this topic deserves an honest debate, with legislative hearings, expert testimony and public input when the time is right. has come.

However, that does not affect the most pressing issue: the looming and glaring deadline to pass the laws that will allow legal marijuana in 43 days.

Voters passed a constitutional amendment to legalize weed two weeks ago in a 68% landslide, and two bills will provide the regulatory rubric. One establishes safeguards for the industry and sets regulations for licenses and products. There are lingering discussions about where the sales tax revenue goes, but that can be sorted out in the February budget hash.

The second bill was to decriminalize possession of up to six ounces of cannabis, which is rudimentary, as it makes no sense to persist with arrests when we are less than two months away from full legalization.

But someone decided that it was just as important to reduce the penalties for owning an ounce of mushroom, and it all blew up.

Bill Caruso from New Jersey United for marijuana reform get right to the point: “If we don’t do anything by January 1, when this amendment goes into effect, we will have legalized cannabis for adult use without any rules,” he said. “And, a likelihood of chaos.”

The other option is to torpedo the process with irritating legislative disruptions – like adding mushrooms to the equation, without knowing its effect on society as a whole.

The Assembly was right to oppose it, but we are out of time.

Without legislative action, what if someone is arrested for possession after January 1? What is preventing him from launching a powerful challenge in the courts, now that voters have decided that it is a constitutional right to own weed? Without legislative action, what if a county sheriff asks his officers to make pot arrests, and one of them commits a deadly act of force that explodes on social media?

Either way, New Jersey would be a national disgrace.

Again, this is not about psilocybin, which was elevated to “breakthrough therapy” status in 2018 by the FDA to explore its potential as a treatment for depression. As one psychedelic expert noted Michael pollan in the New York Times, “small but rigorous” studies from Johns Hopkins, UCLA, NYU and Imperial College suggest that its use under medical supervision may relieve “existential distress” in cancer patients and break addictions nicotine, alcohol and cocaine. Its potential is captivating. Oregon Legalized it for therapeutic purposes two weeks ago.

But decriminalizing mushrooms is not a priority in a state where African Americans are arrested for pot at 3.5 times the rate at which whites are imprisoned.

Senator Nia Gill, D-Essex, who voted against the bill because of the write-off language, asked a good question during the floor debate: “How do we decriminalize a psychedelic drug called ‘magic mushrooms’, when the basis for decriminalization is the disproportionate impact on black and brown communities arrested for marijuana? “

Amen. It is not about some unidentified legislator mushroom fetishism, or a gradual race to the finish line for decrim bills. It is always a question of deriving income from universal activity and restoring social justice.

The public has already solved our embarrassing legislative failures, in a 2-on-1 rout. The least our lawmakers can do is stand up for the will of the public and keep an eye on the ball. Fix the invoice.

Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today To NJ.com.

Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com Facebook Reviews.

Tell us your coronavirus storieswhether it’s a hot tip, a topic you want us to cover, or a personal story you want to share.



Share.

Comments are closed.