Jose Arango, titular Chairman of the Hudson County Republican Organization, is a negative force in the NJ GOP and his opposition to the marijuana referendum proves how dangerous and drunk-like his illogic is. In a September 10th piece published by NJ.com Arango asked, “if legal marijuana is so popular, why are you going to amend the constitution?” Arango’s phraseology demonstrates his fundamental ignorance of how ballot questions work. Ballot questions are referendums, questions put to the people for a popular up or down vote. The constitutional change he mentions is the vehicle with which the voters are being asked whether they want marijuana prohibition to end. Thus the popularity of the proposition, ending marijuana prohibition, will be tested by the question put to the people. If New Jersey is for it – it will win, if it is not – it will lose. But in either case, its “popularity,” which seems to be Arango’s principle concern, will only be known after the referendum. Arango’s argument is self-contradictory, as one cannot argue something is unpopular as a reason not to test its popularity.
The reality is that in Trenton, the Democrat Party, for which Arango unofficially works, has been unable and unwilling to pass legislation on a slew of topics that help millions of New Jerseyans. Rather, while Republican legislators have been a courageous voice for small business, taxpayers, and the working class, most of Trenton’s Democrat chiefs are even more addicted to the failed war on drugs and the money it brings to the prison industrial complex, than even their slavish addiction to Governor Murphy’s “Covid” press conferences to find out what they believe next. The Democrat leaders in Trenton have, in the past, joined their grassroots left wing fellow travelers to advocate for “bail reform” efforts that free violent offenders and have supported ending agreements to work with ICE to get violent felons who happen to be illegal aliens off New Jersey’s streets. Yet, these same Democrat “leaders” in the legislature have kept marijuana classified on the same legal level as heroin and meth. When Democrats are advocating for the release of dangerous criminals with violent records into the NJ population Arango is silent. When the Democrat legislative contingent is against ending marijuana prohibition, which has directly resulted in people’s lives being destroyed because they were put behind bars for non-violent consensual activity, he joins the anti-freedom chorus and opens his gaping mouth as wide as possible in a publicity stunt that will hurt the GOP.
President Trump and the national GOP, on the other hand, have wisely refrained from opposing states that have legalized marijuana and the numerous movements in many other states to end its prohibition. They have done so not only because they know it is a losing issue; but also because it goes against the spirit of the President’s historic criminal justice reform efforts to lessen harsh sentences for non-violent, drug related, incarcerations. Just as importantly, the prohibition Arango advocates for so poorly, goes against the idea of the Republican Party as the party of individual freedom. Republicans must ask, how does prohibiting a consensual activity, equal or less harmful than alcohol, and certainly in and of itself less harmful than driving drunk, for which Arango himself has received at least one DUI, advance the cause of individual freedom?
In his full argument published in a press release in insidernj.com Arango makes the long debunked claim that “we know from states where marijuana is legal that underage use of pot is increasing” as well that people who support ending prohibition do “not care about the damage that legal pot will do to our children, families, schools and neighborhoods.” Yet again, reality and Arango differ. Not only has the data shown decriminalization and legalization in other nations leads to a lowering of usage overall but a 2019 US study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that “consistent with the results of previous researchers, there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth.” The study goes on to conclude that “marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes.” Writing for the American Council on Science and Health in an October 2019 article, Alex Berezow, PhD, makes the case in that legalization “took away some of the mystique associated with marijuana. Teenagers can be rebellious and are often attracted to things they know they shouldn’t do. But smoking a joint is hardly taboo anymore, especially when it’s given the green light by several different states.” Dr. Berezow is no bleeding heart when it comes to drugs, as has gone on the record trashing the insane San Francisco policy of encouraging the false notion of “safe heroin injections.”
In both pieces and his public comments against ending marijuana prohibition, Arango continually ignores the fact that thousands die each year from alcohol abuse. According to drugrehab.com “more than 4,300 youths die each year as a result of excessive drinking,” and yet he makes no call to re-institute the prohibition of alcohol our state and nation once had. Does this mean that it is he who “does not care about… our children, families, schools, and neighborhoods?” Moreover, when one considers the fact that the law firm, Florio Perrucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor LLC – a firm in which a named partner is Arango’s boss – offered to represents groups within the pro-legalization marijuana lobby, is he saying that NJ GOP State Chairman Doug Steinhardt “does not care” about New Jersey’s children? Perhaps, Arango is against ending marijuana prohibition because it is not his preferred vice – but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “there are generally no reports of people fatally overdoing (dying) on marijuana.”
By pushing and practicing junk science as well as pretending he has anything resembling a policy perspective, Arango is harming the Republican Party in his fight against freedom. Undoubtedly, his unnecessary and ignorance based foray into policy discussion will help increase the Democrat vote share in November as left leaning but low frequency voters will now be more motivated to get out and vote against the faux Republican perspective he has brought to the public.
Jose Arango sent out the following statement when reached for comment: “It is sadly that a Republican that is in the state committee is defending the position of governor Murphy, the Republican party, the chairman association passed a resolution against the amendment of the Constitution of the state of NJ, is no need to amend the constitution to legalize marijuana because the democratic party has full control of both houses and the Governor’s office”.
Mr Einstein-Sotomayor has more in common with Governor Murphy and with Joe Biden than with the Republican Party and the President of the US.”