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TRENTON – As the backroom conversations accelerate ahead of Senate Judiciary Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee votes on marijuana legalization, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) expressed resistance in the Democratic caucus.
“Although public opinion and support for the legalization of recreational marijuana has grown, I don’t believe our scientific evidence has,” Vainieri Huttle told INsiderNJ.
“Groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] remain in opposition as well as health care professionals pointing to concerns regarding cognitive effects on the brain and the long term implications of marijuana use from a young age,” added the veteran assemblywoman from Englewood. “In addition the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is opposed because of the detrimental effects for those with behavioral issues and predisposed mental illness. I believe there are many unanswered questions, and would put science, health and public safety concerns over the $1.4 million spent on lobbying. We can’t compromise science over money.
“However, I do support the need to address the social justice and medical piece. It is for this reason, we should focus our efforts to end the discriminatory practices that so often impact our communities of color and we must better manage our state’s medical marijuana program to ensure that all those who can medically benefit from the drug have access to it. Therefore, I am not convinced to support recreational cannabis at this time.”