Council Member Opposes Legalization of Recreational Marijuana, Supports Decriminalization


Letter to the Editor

October 5, 2018

As a member of the Highland Park Borough Council, and as the father of two adolescents, I am concerned about the likely legalization of recreational marijuana in New Jersey and the possibility of marijuana being sold in Highland Park.

I support the bill that State Senator Ron Rice has sponsored that would remove criminal penalties for small amounts of marijuana but would not create a system that would legalize marijuana in New Jersey.

I understand that the New Jersey State Legislature is considering legalizing marijuana throughout the State with an opt-out provision for municipalities that want to ban marijuana sales. I am currently advocating passage of an ordinance that would prevent businesses in Highland Park from selling marijuana (medicinal and recreational) and marijuana paraphernalia due to the harm posed by marijuana and its active addictive ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), and the risks legalization of marijuana poses to adolescents.

In an April 2016 article, You Can’t Deny Marijuana Is Dangerous For Developing Minds, Dr. Diane McIntosh, a psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, explained that marijuana “is not benign and there’s a mountain of scientific evidence, compiled over nearly 30 years, to prove it poses serious risks, particularly for developing brains.” She points out that smoking marijuana produces cancer causing toxins and chronic lung disease, and may lower one’s IQ, cause brain cell damage, mental illness, and motor vehicle accidents.

A study published in the Journal of Scientific Reports in May 2016 demonstrated marijuana use creates neurocognitive impairments in both frequent and infrequent users. Also, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science in June 2016, which “examined the association between cannabis use and dependence, prospectively assessed between ages 18 and 38, and economic and social problems at age 38,” and found that “study members with regular cannabis use and persistent dependence experienced downward socioeconomic mobility, more financial difficulties, workplace problems, and relationship conflict in early midlife.”

I have written to our 18th District legislators Senator Patrick Diegnan, and Assembly Members Nancy Pinkin and Robert Karabinchak urging them to vote to against legalizing marijuana in New Jersey.

The next Borough Council meeting is scheduled for 10/9/18 at 7 pm at Borough Hall, which is located at 221 S. 5th Avenue. I urge all Highland Park residents who are concerned about the possibility of marijuana being sold in Highland Park to attend Borough Council meetings and address the issue during the Public Comment periods.


Josh Fine
Borough of Highland Park

Comments are closed.