New Jersey health care advocates today announced an initiative to encourage voters to #TurnthePage on their ballots and vote “yes” on Public Question #1, calling for the legalization of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey.

Dr. David Nathan, President of Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), said the group joined the NJ CAN 2020 campaign to educate voters on the health benefits of cannabis legalization to millions of New Jersey patients who don’t have access to medications under current law. DFCR is an international educational organization comprising of physicians, researchers, and government officials who are dedicated to the legalization, taxation, and regulation of cannabis.

“In New Jersey’s existing medicinal cannabis program, brain injuries, sickle cell, and other chronic illnesses are not covered,” said Dr. Nathan. “Passing this ballot question will allow regulated cannabis sales, helping adults find the doctor-recommended medicine they can’t access today.”

Further, he said it was critical that all New Jersey voters recognize the importance of finding the ballot question on the back page of their November ballots and not stop after just the federal elections. Advocates of the campaign, including DFCR, are reminding voters that they will likely need to turn over their ballot and vote “yes” to support adult-use legalization.

Turning the page on your ballot is a potential lifesaver for some New Jersey residents who have volunteered to serve in the military. Millions of veterans suffer from chronic pain and mental health diagnoses, among other conditions, stemming from their time spent in service. Cannabis is increasingly seen as a viable option to help treat health challenges and prevent crises among veterans, including the opioid epidemic and suicide. A study by The American Legion found that 82% of veterans support the use of cannabis as treatment for physical and mental conditions.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that states permitting greater access to marijuana experienced 25% fewer opioid-related deaths than states with more restrictive marijuana laws. Other peer-reviewed scientific studies point to the fact that cannabis may actually be a “reverse gateway” drug helping patients safely get off of opioid medications altogether.

“Patients should have the freedom to choose cannabis for any condition, especially when cannabis is the safer option,” Dr. Nathan continued. “But cannabis is only truly safe when legal and regulated, with common-sense controls on cultivation, processing, distribution, and sales of cannabis. Only through legalization can our state establish standards for product testing, labeling, potency, purity, and packaging. Only legal retailers are monitored to ensure that they check IDs and prevent sales to minors. We need to turn the page on cannabis restrictions and create an environment that is fair, both in access and in legality.”

Rural communities will also feel the benefits of expanded access to legal cannabis. Medical marijuana dispensaries by their nature are centered in urban centers, making access to doctor-recommended cannabis treatments difficult outside major markets. Adult-use cannabis will offer the Garden State’s rural residents more treatment options, which will lead to better health outcomes.

The ballot question includes an implementation plan that controls cannabis from seed to sale; restricts access by minors; maintains current laws against driving while impaired; keeps drug-free workplace rules in place; and prohibits public use of cannabis.

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About NJ CAN 2020

NJ CAN 2020 represents a coalition of New Jersey voters committed to creating fairness in the administration of the state’s marijuana laws and cannabis industry. We want to end the prohibition on marijuana in New Jersey and foster a regulated cannabis market that encourages inclusion for entrepreneurs across the state and creates good jobs and a new taxing authority for local governments when they need it most.