I want to applaud Governor Christie for taking a firm stance against the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.  As a longtime member of the Middletown Municipal Drug and Alcohol Alliance, it is heartening to have a Governor who refuses to concede the health and well-being of New Jerseyans in the face of numerous states weakly caving into pressure from ill-advised advocacy groups. 

Governor Christie’s statement is especially timely as a new report conclusively shows that even casual marijuana use results in significant brain abnormalities.    Moreover, marijuana has been proven to be a gateway drug to such horrifically addictive and deadly drugs as heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and countless others.  

On a larger scale, the United States cannot afford to create an unmotivated and less-productive populace and expect to remain competitive as a nation on the world stage.  One need only look at the chaos ensuing in Colorado since its legalization of marijuana to get a sense of the damage that can and will occur. Legalization, in the eyes of many, will also be a signal from the government that marijuana is safe and acceptable and encourage people who may otherwise stay away from it, to become involved. 

In addition, whatever short term revenue benefits the government  realizes will be dwarfed by the long-term  costs to society in lost productivity, increased DUIs and other crimes, increased medical costs, skyrocketing addiction rates, higher accident rates and increased government dependency. 

Gerry Scharfenberger, Ph.D.
Middletown Township Committee