After reading former Montclair Police Chief Thomas J. Russo’s latest rant against cannabis in Montclair Local’s letters to the editor section, I feel compelled to respond to his ongoing propaganda on the topic of adult use of cannabis. 

New Jersey voters overwhelmingly (by a 2-1 ratio) approved the legalization of adult use of cannabis, with Montclair residents voting 4-1 in favor of it, in case Russo missed that minor fact.

That he chooses to criticize and raise a red flag on the negative impact of children seeing their parents consume cannabis responsibly — while neglecting to acknowledge that it’s OK for children to see their parents and their friends consume enormous amounts of alcohol at a weekend BBQ, get sloppy drunk and then get in the car to drive home, endangering anyone on the road — shows he is living in the “Reefer Madness” world rather than reality. 

Nor does he reference the amount of parents who are addicted to opiates and whose children see them take OxyContin, Percocet or other painkillers that not only put them, but also their children at risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 2018 data showed 128 people died each day from opiate overdoses, many of whom were respectable professionals and parents; research also shows that no one has ever died from an overdose from consuming cannabis.

As a subscriber and member of the Montclair Local, I ask you to stop giving the former police chief this platform to continue his fake news regarding cannabis. On July 13, the Township Council introduced ordinances to allow legal cannabis businesses to open their doors once licenses for retail and other affiliated businesses are issued by the state. We should be using the pages of Montclair Local to educate its readers and the community about the many benefits of using legal cannabis and medical cannabis to help people improve their lives.  

I’d be happy to volunteer my services in that capacity. I run my own public relations firm based in town with a large cannabis practice, as well as being a well-known advocate. I also write about cannabis on a regular basis for Rolling Stone and Munkey Biz, so I am very connected in this space and would welcome the chance to bring voices that will explain in an understandable way anything and everything you need to know to make an informed decision about using it.

Stu Zakim
President, Bridge Strategic Communications


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