Bob Hugin indicated he would be willing to support legalized marijuana but would be unlikely to do so until real-time impairment tests are developed for the drug.
“I’m generally not a fan of government intervening in our lives. I think we have too much government intervention in our lives, but I do believe that the most important role of government is our safety and our health,” Hugin said after a health care roundtable Wednesday morning.
“I think until we can show that the school bus driver who’s driving our first-grade kids to school or the person driving that NJ Transit train or the person who’s making our medicines or building a bridge is not impaired by marijuana, I think that should be our first standard.”
He also expressed concerns over the effects legalized marijuana could have on the job prospects of urban youths.
Even if New Jersey legalizes marijuana – legislative leaders have repeatedly pushed back their timeline for doing so – some employers may be hesitant to hire workers using cannabis while it remains illegal at the federal level, and using marijuana could prevent applicants from obtaining jobs that require a security clearance.
Hugin indicated that he was more ready to support medicinal marijuana, which is already legal in the state. Though he wanted the Food and Drug Administration to expand studies of the drug’s uses and effectiveness.
“I believe we should always put the patient at the front of everything that we do in health care. I think pain management, convulsions or epilepsy or spasticity, we have to have the right treatments for it,” Hugin said. “I think the FDA should be, in the end, the arbiter.”