September 22, 2019 | 69° F

Anti-marijuana group held meeting at Rutgers, more than 40 people attended

Photo by Wikimedia |

Legalizing Marijuana in the state of New Jersey has been a key part of Governor Phil Murphy's agenda since taking office. Recently, state lawmakers said they are aiming for an Oct. 29 deadline for a piece of legislation to reach the governor's desk.

An anti-marijuana group held an event at Rutgers over the weekend, bringing together people concerned with the expansion of marijuana in the Garden State for an afternoon of conversations and speakers. 

The American College of Orgonomy (ACO) held "Problems with Marijuana: An ACO Sponsored Forum" at the Rutgers University Conference Center on Ryders Lane. 

More than 40 people attended, according to MyCentralJersey, and it was capped off with a keynote address from Theodore Petti, a Rutgers professor in the Department of Psychiatry and president of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry.

ACO was established in 1968 and founded by Dr. Elsworth F. Baker, M.D. at the request of Wilhelm Reich who asked him to assume responsibility for the future of orgonomy, according to the organization’s website. ACO is a nonprofit organization located near Princeton, N.J.

Reich was a psychiatrist and student of Sigmund Freud, who believed he discovered a form of energy present in all living things, which he called "orgones," according to the group's website.

MyCentralJersey reported that Reich's work in orgonomy has largely been labeled as pseudoscience by the scientific community, according to several published articles.

In his speech, Petti discussed the dangerous effects marijuana use can have on adolescents.

"The past decade has witnessed the evolution of cannabis from a street drug highly associated with criminals into a billion-dollar industry with powerful interest groups and widely accepted, though controversial, values, for medical and recreational use," he said.

Petti said the "dearth of credible data" on marijuana legalization makes informed decisions difficult, and “Big Cannabis” is pushing for high levels of THC in medical marijuana.

He did recognize benefits of some parts of cannabis, such as cannabidiol, CBD. He said it has been used for "schizophrenia in reducing symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions in paranoia, improve cognitive functioning, reduce Parkinson's psychosis, also to reduce the psychosis induced by THC, stabilize bi-polar disorder and, of course, it has been noted to reduce seizures in rare pediatric seizure disorders."

He said it is THC, on the other hand, that causes relaxation, euphoria, induces appetite, distorts time perception and is often used as a replacement to prescription medication. 

Petti said he is concerned that expanding and legalizing marijuana could lead to more kids being exposed to it. New Jersey, although, has the lowest teenage monthly use of marijuana than any other state with medical marijuana, he said.

Peter Crist, president of ACO, said ACO is an organization that strives to help "people live in greater connection with their health individually and as a society."

Ryan Stiesi

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