Rutgers University experts are available to discuss an amendment to the state constitution that would legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults ages 21 and over. New Jersey voters will decide on this year’s election ballot as the state looks to join 11 others that have legalized it. Experts are available prior to and following the vote.

  • Professor Lewis Nelson is a medical toxicologist, a professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He is also chief of service in the Emergency Department at University Hospital.

“Legalizing marijuana for recreational use could have serious personal, public health and increased healthcare utilization implications due to overconsumption and injury, child exposures and mental health consequences that are likely to occur,” said Nelson. “These need to be balanced against the potential positive economic and personal outcomes. Judging by the medical and social consequences that have occurred elsewhere following legalization and the marginal financial benefit this brings to New Jersey, the true value of legalization remains questionable. The very important benefit on social justice can be addressed administratively through other means, such as decriminalization, without opening a Pandora’s box of other social issues.”

  • Ashley Koning, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling.

“Marijuana legalization has had solid and widespread support among New Jerseyans in recent polling, which is a good indication that the constitutional amendment regarding legalization and regulation is likely to pass on Election Day. Especially given the devastating economic impact the pandemic has had on New Jersey, support may be fueled now more than ever by residents’ beliefs that the commodification of it will benefit the state‘s fiscal well-being.”

###

Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University–New Brunswick has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino neal.buccino@echo.rutgers.edu

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.

ABOUT RBHS

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) takes an integrated approach to educating students, providing clinical care and conducting research, all with the goal of improving human health. Aligned with Rutgers University–New Brunswick, and collaborating university-wide, RBHS includes eight schools, a behavioral health network and four centers and institutes. RBHS offers an outstanding education in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, nursing, biomedical research and the full spectrum of allied health careers. RBHS clinical and academic facilities are located throughout the state.