To the Editor:

The ancient Greek storyteller Aesop famously said that "appearances can often be deceiving" and the administration of Gov. Murphy has deceived the citizens of New Jersey again.  The citizens of New Jersey voted to legalize recreational marijuana at his urging because he said it would be the "right thing to do." However, what Gov. Murphy actually did was pull a classic "bait and switch" with the people of New Jersey. The Budget and Appropriations Committee in the New Jersey state Senate passed S2535 which would decriminalize up to six ounces of marijuana, but it also included one unexpected amendment: it would also decriminalize "magic mushrooms." At no time during the marijuana legalization debate did Gov Murphy ever mention decriminalizing other drugs, but yet that is exactly what Gov. Murphy and the Democratic leadership in Trenton are doing.

As I have said in previous public forums and in previous letters, I was against the legalization of recreational marijuana for many reasons, one of which was that it would lead to a 'slippery slope" and that is exactly what is happening. The decriminalization of hallucinogenic mushrooms will be terrible for New Jersey. We know that hallucinogenic mushrooms trigger vivid hallucinations and changes in perception of space and time for its users.  The effects of hallucinogenic mushrooms last 4-6 hours and magic mushrooms effect on the brain is believed to last even after a user stops taking them. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also sites "Persistent Psychosis" and "Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder" as two negative long-term consequences of hallucinogenic mushroom use.

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Hallucinogenic mushroom decriminalization will make our roads less safe. According to the Nemours Foundation/Teen Health,  hallucinogenic mushrooms alter a person's sense of reality and affect their judgement, therefore trying to drive while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms is likely to cause accidents. In addition, Daytop New Jersey/The Trust for American Health statistics show that New Jersey already has the 6th highest rate of fatal youth drug overdoses in the country.  Since Gov. Murphy and the Democratic leadership are going to make it easier for our young people to access hallucinogenic mushrooms, this grim statistic regarding our young people is guaranteed to increase. 

The decriminalization of magic mushrooms will also be an economic goldmine for criminal organizations in New Jersey. For example, in Australia and Canada, biker gangs are known to traffic in psychedelic drugs, including hallucinogenic mushrooms. That plays right into the hands of the Pagan Biker gang here in New Jersey which law enforcement has identified as a top-tier threat to safety and well-being to the people of New Jersey. Gov. Murphy has just given the Pagan Biker Gang, and other criminal organizations, a gold-plated gift in the form of decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Gov. Murphy should publicly call for the amended bill decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms to be withdrawn and for the coward state Senator who added the amendment anonymously to name themselves. This monstrosity of a bill is going to destroy young lives, wreck families, and be a money maker for criminal organizations and it needs to be withdrawn and/or defeated. And Gov. Murphy needs to answer for his support of this bill right up to the day he is defeated at the ballot box in 2021.


John Giotis

Raritan Township