New Jersey Push for Legalization of Marijuana

Did Prohibition wipe out alcohol use? Not exactly. It DID make wealthy men out of criminals like Al Capone. New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari said he intends to introduce legislation that would legalize marijuana. However, Governor Chris Christie is likely to oppose the idea of legalization, even if state lawmakers make it legal to sell and possess marijuana for those over the age of 21.

Colorado has allowed the sale of weed for recreational use starting this past January 1. Washington state has also legalized marijuana starting a bit later in 2013. Support across the country appears to be growing for legalization.

Others, however, like Reverend Errol Cooper, the head of the prison ministry for the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, says he would like to see certain types of drug offenses decriminalized or reduced to a summons, rather than legalization. He suggests not moving to quickly toward legalization, until we see what happens in Colorado.

Are we perhaps asking the wrong question? Maybe, rather, what we should consider the question of responsible use. Alcohol, for example, is legal for those over the age of 21. The concern is when people do not drink responsibly, and end up harming themselves or others as a result.

Wine, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs, have all been used since time immemorial in religious rituals. Native Americans have often used a mixture of tobacco and other beneficial herbs in their smoke mixture, ‘knick-knick’.

When you begin to explore substance abuse from the perspective of addiction, the question becomes much broader than the question of legalization. Issues of societal and cultural disadvantages come into play.

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