Weed is legal in NJ, but still dangerous — how to keep yourself, others safe
⚫ New Jersey is launching a statewide education campaign on safe cannabis use
⚫ NJ's legal market has led to an uptick in exposures among kids
⚫ Certain people, such as pregnant women, are advised to avoid marijuana
TRENTON — With more than 50 spots across New Jersey now offering you legal access to the state's recreational marijuana market, a public education campaign is launching statewide, to ensure that cannabis consumers — both veterans and newbies — are using it safely, for themselves and those around them.
Digital ads, social media, billboards, and posters are being used to deliver the safety messages.
The CREAMM Act, the legislation that paved the way for legal cannabis use in New Jersey, requires that the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission run campaigns and provide information for responsible consumption.
"We want to empower New Jersey's residents with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about cannabis use and encourage purchasing from the legal market, which supports union jobs and designates monies to making communities better," said Krista Nash, commissioner for the NJ-CRC.
The commission held a press conference in Trenton on Wednesday to announce the launch of the statewide campaign. Below are some of the key points.
Buy from a reputable source
"Unlike the illicit market, when adult consumers and patients make a purchase at a licensed facility, they know exactly what they're getting," said Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. "They have confidence in their product because they can actually see what's on the label."
Cannabis packaging must include certain info, such as:
🔵 Product name and ingredients
🔵 Storage advice and warnings about overconsumption
🔵 Serving size and directions for use
🔵 Manufacturer information
🔵 A symbol (pictured below) that indicates that the product is for adults only
Keep cannabis out of kids' hands
New Jersey has seen a spike in marijuana exposure in kids, mainly because of edibles, such as gummies.
Cannabis packaging in New Jersey is supposed to be child-resistant, even when it's resealed. But industry professionals say it's also up to the adult consumers to keep these products out of reach and sight of children and pets.
"Make sure they're locked up and kept in a safe place," said Diane Calello, medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center. "Keep products in their original child-resistant packaging. If you do remove them, place them into a locked child-resistant resealable container or bag."
Weed and driving don't mix
Advocates want consumers to equate driving while high with driving while drunk.
At all cannabis points of sale in New Jersey, there are flyers providing consumers with information on the hazards and penalties associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana.
"Research shows that cannabis can negatively impact motor functions such as attention, coordination, and reaction time — all skills important for safe driving," said Lauren Paterno, of AAA Northeast. "Simply put, if you use cannabis, don't drive. If you are driving, don't use cannabis."
Cannabis is not for pregnant/nursing women
No amount of marijuana use is considered safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, Helen Hannigan, CEO of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, said during her remarks at the press conference.
Continued research is needed to determine the impacts of marijuana on pregnant individuals and their developing fetuses, but there is evidence that cannabis use can cause harm and affect fetal, infant, and child development, she said.
"There is no proof that cannabis is effective in the treatment of morning sickness," Hannigan added. "If you currently use marijuana and are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should stop using it. And if you need support, talk to your clinical team."
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