NEW JERSEY - NJ voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana this week. The state legislature would still need to draft legislation to make this happen. Still, the legalization of recreational marijuana is not supported by a health organization in New Jersey, according to National Addiction Expert and Chief Science Officer for Recovery Centers of America (RCA), Dr. Deni Carise.


Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Wrong for New Jersey During Dual Pandemic/Addiction Crisis Says New Jersey Treatment Center Addiction Expert

RCA treats substance use disorder (SUD) patients at two extensive SUD treatment facilities in South Amboy and Mays Landing, New Jersey, at three Medication-Assisted Treatment facilities in Woodbridge, Somerdale, and Trenton, at an outpatient facility in Voorhees, and one office-based opioid treatment program in Camden County. RCA also has other treatment centers nationwide and is based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

“Recovery Centers of America does not support the legalization of marijuana but does support decriminalization and changing the current policy that incarcerates an individual on probation/parole secondary to testing positive for marijuana.

We need to look no further than the alcohol and tobacco industries to project the dangers of making marijuana widely accessible. These industries have a history of downplaying the harm caused by these substances and spending millions of marketing to young people. We have also

learned that instituting a minimum age for regular consumption does little to deter young people. Most importantly, the increased availability of a product always leads to increased use – and misuse. Decriminalization, on the other hand, maintains marijuana’s illegal status while ensuring that individuals who struggle with addiction get treated for their disease rather than incarcerated for it.

Legalization would produce countless negative consequences, such as increased use by minors due to increased availability, an increase in the number of people struggling with marijuana use disorders, increased health hazards and health care costs; increased fatalities from driving while impaired; and increased trafficking by criminal syndicates.”

For nearly 30 years, Deni Carise, Ph.D., has served as an important national voice on substance use disorder, treatment, and recovery and regularly speaks at national conferences on current trends in the field. She is a clinical psychologist and assistant adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and currently serves as chief scientific officer for Recovery Centers of America, a locally accessible, evidence-based treatment provider. Dr. Carise has provided consult for the White House and internationally with treatment providers in other countries to develop national systems of clinical treatment delivery. She has published over 100 articles, books, and chapters on addiction and related topics. With extensive knowledge, media experience, and her personal experience in recovery, Dr. Carise speaks in plain truths and concise sound-bites about the scope and stigma of addiction, the quest for treatment, and recovery challenges.

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