The Future of Cannabis in New Jersey: A Report Prepared by the Students of Rider University's Reefer Madness Course
23 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2021 Last revised: 10 May 2022
Date Written: November 30, 2020
Background: In November 2020, 67% of New Jersey (NJ) residents voted yes to legalizing the adult use of cannabis. In 2019, 48% of all admissions to NJ substance abuse treatment centers were for opioids (Substance Abuse Statewide Report, 2020). From Sept-Dec 2020, Rider University, CannabisBPO, and the Cannabis Center of Excellence taught an Undergraduate course on cannabis legalization and conducted a research study together with the students as part of the course.
Methods: Dr. Trocchio (Rider University) and Dr. McNabb (CCOE); Marshall Ogen (CannabisBPO); and Shekia Scott (Senior Cannabis Expert) served as Principal Investigators with Rider University IRB approval on a research study of NJ residents 21+ years asking opinions about legalizing adult-use cannabis, personal cannabis use, and social justice issues. A survey was developed and disseminated via Survey Monkey using a convenience sampling approach from 09/30/2021 to 11/03/2021. Outreach included: social media platforms, email, veteran associations, and NJ cannabis dispensaries. Results were analyzed using R statistical software.
Results: A total of 240 adults (ages 18+) responded and 90% were in favor of legalizing adult-use cannabis; 85% felt it would positively affect the economy. Nearly half (40%) reported consuming cannabis, 53% were non-cannabis consumers and 7% did not want to disclose. Of those who consume cannabis, 54% reported for adult use only, 32% used cannabis for medical purposes only, and 11% consumed both medically and for adult use. Cannabis was reported helpful for anxiety (70%), depression (55%), pain (35%), and insomnia (42%). The most common unwanted side effects included dry mouth (50%), changes in appetite (40%); and more or less talkative (32%). Cannabis was also reported to be used to reduce unwanted medication or opioid use.
Discussion: This type of cannabis academic educational model is the first of its kind in cannabis, teaching while also conducting a relevant and real-time research study as part of coursework. Study findings reveal NJ cannabis consumers and patients are utilizing medical cannabis to replace or reduce medication or opiate use. More research and educational programs surrounding this topic should be conducted.
Note: Funding: None to declare.
COI: None to declare.
Ethics: This study was approved by Rider University, IRB Application Approved and designated R2020.9.9.116 and re-approved 11/30/21 and designated R2021.11.30.051
Keywords: New Technologies, New Opportunities
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation