NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police Announces Opposition to Legalizing Marijuana
New Jersey’s statewide association of police chiefs this week announced their opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana with the following position statement:
“The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police [NJSACOP] opposes the legalization of recreational marijuana. The negative consequences related to the adoption of such legislation far outweigh any perceived benefits. Coming at a time when our communities are struggling with the effects of the opioid and heroin epidemic, the members of the NJSACOP believe the legalization of recreational marijuana will further burden our public health care system, increase organized criminal activity, and affect the welfare of our most vulnerable – our youth and adolescent population.
However, we do believe that common ground can be found on this issue. To that end, the NJSACOP has formed a Working Group comprised of law enforcement professionals charged with gathering input from community leaders and healthcare professionals to review current research and engage in a comprehensive discussion. Our position is that the prudent approach, at this time, is to slow the pace and engage in these discussions. It is possible to peel back the layers and find consensus on the societal issues that were the original driving force for this issue. The NJSACOP acknowledges that alternatives to arrest and incarceration must be included in the discussion.
In addition, more research is required to better understand the long-term effects legalizing recreational marijuana has had in those states where it has been recently legalized. Research should be publicly funded and independent from self-interest. Finally, it is imperative that this research be well rounded and inclusive of all issues, and not simply those hand-picked leading to a preconceived conclusion.
Our view is that the legalization of recreational marijuana is not the answer. The NJSACOP and its membership look forward to working alongside our community stakeholders, public healthcare professionals and government leaders at all levels to find a solution, as well as to address those other issues which affect the health, welfare and quality of life of all our communities.”