Garden State voters have approved a constitutional amendment to legalize personal use of marijuana during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, in February 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed a cannabis legalization bill that became law. It took a while, but finally in August, regulations were established by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to allow the consumption of cannabis for people 21 years of age or older, if used on property. private and that it is six ounces or less.
Dianna Houenou is the chair of the Commission and has publicly stated that retail sales will not begin until 2022. Prior to CRC, she was a policy advisor to the New Jersey branch of the American Civil Liberties Union-NJ.
One of the reasons for the law is to fight against unjust incarceration, mainly of people of color. “Our current marijuana ban laws have failed all social justice tests, which is why for years I have strongly supported the legalization of cannabis for adult use,” Murphy said. “Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands of people of color disproportionately to be arrested each year in New Jersey for minor drug offenses is unjust and untenable. I have signed three bills which will fulfill the promise of the constitutional amendment, ”he concluded.
Legalizing small-volume adult possession, limiting the use of past marijuana convictions and creating a carefully regulated cannabis market will be an economic boon to the state, economists and activists say of legalization.
On Hot 97’s Ebro Laura Stylez Rosenberg show, Murphy said that legalizing cannabis will prevent children, especially those of color, from getting entangled in the justice system, but it will also put laws in place. prohibiting children from obtaining access to cannabis.
“Dealing with people who have already been embroiled in the criminal justice system is the number one priority,” Houenou said. “We cannot legalize this substance and let people continue to yearn for past behavior. So, anyone who has been convicted or charged with marijuana-related offenses, those convictions are automatically struck out. If you are currently serving time for a marijuana offense, you are automatically released! We wanted to do it without weighing down these people. No application is therefore required. You don’t have to lift a finger, it is up to the courts of the State of New Jersey to do what is right for our people.
“I will be working with my team to build the current industry and define the rules and regulations that will govern the operation of a legal business in New Jersey,” continued Houenou.
When asked what impact a local cannabis company would have on the communities it is in, Houenou said, “Local communities are going to have a say here. They will have a voice to indicate whether or not they want a cannabis business in their jurisdiction. And from there, local zoning rules and authorization processes will take place to ensure that we don’t overload some communities that are repeatedly marginalized and overloaded time and time again. “
New laws and regulations surrounding legal cannabis use prohibit public use of the substance. The laws also give law enforcement the tools to deal with those who drive under the influence of cannabis.
“We will make sure everyone understands what the expectations are, what the rules and regulations will be, we have to write them down,” Houenou said. “We have to figure out how many licenses we’re going to make available and what the costs will be, what the application conditions will be, but it will all be widely publicized. We’re going to do a lot of outreach to make sure the communities know when we’re ready to go. “