Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. issued an official statement on announcing his disapproval that not a single #cannabis license, out of 56 licenses issued in New #Jersey, was granted to #Black-owned #businesses.
New Jersey’s #Cannabis Regulatory #Commission (CRC) is the entity in charge of issuing any cannabis licenses, and the CRC has not issued one to any of the state’s Black business owners. The CRC started taking applications from adult-use cannabis #growers, #manufacturers and testing #labs on #December 15, 2021.
#Medical cannabis has been legal in the state since 2012. However, last year, New Jersey legalized marijuana for #adult us, paving the way for #retail sales. But in the 10 years of legalization, not one Black-owned cannabis business has been granted a license, according to the #African #American Chamber of Commerce of #NewJersey.
“I am outraged to hear that Black-owned businesses have been shut out of the state’s cannabis #marketplace,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. “Black users are four times more likely to be arrested for #marijuana possession than white users, even though overall use for both groups is almost the same. #NewJersey has a chance to correct this inequality and allow people abused by the system to finally benefit from it with a fair #distribution of cannabis business licenses. Instead, we are seeing the same inequality with these licenses that we see in marijuana arrests. Governor Phil Murphy promised that the state’s cannabis industry would right the wrongs of the past as it concerns #social justice. Now, New Jersey needs to uphold this promise. States around the country are touting social justice with provisions such as a social equity fund in #NewYork, but walking the walk is another story.