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NJ-CRC Launches Safe Cannabis Consumption Education Campaign

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) launched its statewide public education campaign on safe cannabis consumption.

NJ-CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown noted they are mandated by law to encourage safe use. 

“We have developed factual, science-based material on cannabis, its effects, and potential risks for all, especially for at-risk populations. Highlighting the effects on children and teens, people who are pregnant or nursing, and those using prescription medicine. We are also highlighting the need to store cannabis safely,” he explained.

“The campaign is statewide and aims to reach communities across New Jersey to ensure everyone can access the information and resources they need to navigate the legal cannabis landscape safely,” Brown noted. “From day one, the CRC put into place some of the strongest and safest cannabis regulations in the country, and we’re going to continue to uphold those vigorous rules.”

He cited their child-resistant packaging as proof of implementation.

It can indeed be very difficult to open, even for adults.

“Our shared responsibility is to ensure that New Jersey remains a beacon of progress, equality, and social justice,” Brown claimed.

Safe Consumption of Cannabis by Adults

NJ-CRC Commissioner Krista Nash is spearheading the initiative.

“The goals of this campaign are to prevent children from accessing cannabis products by requiring child-resistant packaging and encouraging safe storage,” she explained.

The NJ-CRC also wants to educate minors on the nuances of safe cannabis consumption.

Nash noted seniors should talk to their doctors about the nature of cannabis and its interaction with their medication.

“Consuming edibles can be a very different experience for some than smoking cannabis,” she explained.

Nash noted it will be a bilingual campaign in English and Spanish.

NJCBA Promotes Safe Cannabis Consumption

“I wear several hats,” said NJ CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Scott Rudder. “I am also the CEO and Founder of Township Green, a dispensary that will open later this year. Most importantly, I am a father of three.” 

“As the voice of the industry, the NJCBA is committed to providing safe products, offering education in our dispensaries, and giving customers every good reason to buy from licensed cannabis businesses that go through a rigorous process that includes quality control and lab testing,” he declared.

“When adult consumers and patients make a purchase at a licensed facility, they know exactly what they are getting,” Rudder claimed.

Unfortunately, consumers of New Jersey cannabis can’t see inside the bag of most licensed cannabis, nor can they smell it. Like wine, smell is crucial in determining the quality of cannabis. It’s also easy to see problems with cannabis flower if you know what to look for.

Several Multi-State Operator (MSO) cannabis corporations in New Jersey and in other state-legal cannabis markets have sold cannabis in the past with mold. A recall was issued in 2021 after Heady NJ learned of moldy cannabis that harmed a New Jersey medical cannabis patient. 

Companies have little incentive to sell quality products when a market is small and competition is negligible.

Thus, it might be hard to trust labels.

“Safety is paramount for all of us. Our association promises to be a partner with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission in promoting best practices for the safety of consumers and to keep cannabis out of children’s hands,” Rudder explained. “We will continue to provide any support we can to amplify the message of this campaign.”

“We understand that by equipping consumers with knowledge, we empower them to make informed choices, and we raise awareness of the benefits of buying legal,” he added.

Underground legacy operators and the legal cannabis market is a big issue. The NJ-CRC has a complicated relationship with people whose businesses they disparage. They want them to transition to the legal cannabis market. But the resources to do so remain forthcoming or non-existent.

Rudder said they want to “send a strong message to the entire cannabis industry that responsible business practices, focusing on customer safety, are crucial for growth and sustainability of New Jersey’s cannabis market.”

It was notable that the organization that only represents licensed cannabis companies, the NJ Cannabis Trade Association, was absent.

AAA Critcizes Driving While High

“Driving and cannabis is a dangerous combination. Research shows it can impact your attention, your um, uh reaction time, and coordination, and balance. These are all things we need for safe driving,” AAA lobbyist Lauren Paterno said.

“If you are planning to drive, don’t use cannabis,” she advised.

New Jersey medical cannabis patients seeking relief from a chronic condition might not have that option.

Driving high is not the same as driving drunk. Alcohol can make you take risks, while cannabis causes you to be more cautious in general.  

It’s better to be cautious than taking risks while driving.

Getting high depends on several factors like weight and tolerance due to previous consumption. Everyone is different.

A lot of people drive buzzed. 

Protecting Young Mothers and Babies

“Our mission is aligned with First Lady Tammy Murphy’s call to make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place to give birth and raise a baby,” Helen Hannigan, President & CEO of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, said.

“The decriminalization of cannabis is an enormous victory. Fewer arrests, prosecutions, and incarcerations, along with the opportunity for expungement, provide relief to historically marginalized communities that are disproportionately affected by enforcement of old statutes,” she explained. “This keeps New Jersey families together. Keeping families together and communities intact ensures greater safety and stability for pregnant and birthing individuals and their babies.”

“I am delighted to support the safe use campaign of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The campaign’s clear focus on securing cannabis in a locked container out of the reach of children, ensuring that regulated cannabis products cannot be confused with candy. And on the implementation of policies against cannabis products with unknown strength will raise awareness and protect against babies and children’s ingestion,” Hannigan said.

She noted guidance says pregnant people should stop using some over-the-counter medications and supplements and avoid certain foods and caffeine. 

“Controlled substances known to endanger pregnancy and cause harm to fetuses include tobacco products, cannabis in all forms, alcohol, and opioids,” Hannigan said. “Continued research is needed to determine the impact of cannabis on pregnant individuals, their developing fetuses, and young children,” HH said.

Legal medical cannabis only became popular as a way to cope with the horrors of chemotherapy radiation in the wake of the AIDS epidemic when many were nauseous after treatment and lacked an appetite.

Some young mothers have found cannabis consumption effective in treating Post-Partum Depression.

New Jersey Poison Center Medical Executive Director Diane Calello recommended the safe storage of products.

“Unfortunately, calls related to young children can result in serious health effects. 

The majority of these exposures are attributable to edible products left out in the open or stored in easily accessible places, and many are illegal candy lookalikes,” she said.

Foolish parents then have to be replaced by the Nanny State.

Calello also criticized legacy operators and claimed that legal products are safer.

In his closing remarks, Brown thanked the Princeton Partners marketing agency. He explained they plan to produce a lot of material on safe cannabis consumption.

Stories and statistics of unsafe cannabis consumption and any adverse effects fuel the cannabis legalization opposition.

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