Benefits and Concerns of Legalizing Marijuana in New Jersey
Scott Rudder, President of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, talks with Steve Adubato about the mission to ensure a successful and safe marijuana industry that meets the needs of the public. Rudder also addresses some of the concerns that people have about the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey.
"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. Coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV studio in Newark, New Jersey. We are pleased to welcome, for the first time with us, Scott Rudder, President of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, which is? The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. We are the trade organization representing the cannabis industry in New Jersey. So we're talking marijuana. And as we do this program in the Spring of 2018, there's a spirited dialogue going on in the Statehouse here, and by the way, how many states in the nation have legalized marijuana? We have eight. Including D.C. The difference between...? Well, so we have eight that have legalized adult use, and there's about 30 that's also legalized for medical purposes. Including New Jersey? Including New Jersey. So right out of the box, the difference between legalization and decriminalization of marijuana is? Well when it's decriminalized it's still a crime, so it's still illegal, right? So when you've decriminalized it, you've basically said, "You're not going to go to jail but here's a ticket." You haven't actually legalized cannabis, so what you've said is you can actually... the argument is, "Hey we're gonna just decriminalize, and therefore we're gonna solve some social justice concerns associated with cannabis," right? So... Like? Like... You said social justice issues. How is this a social justice issue? So well the very premise of cannabis prohibition actually started in the 1930s, and actually... the roots of all of this deal with great greed and racism. So if you have that as your fundamental understanding of what cannabis is and what cannabis prohibition means, when we're fast-forwarding to today, 2018, we do know that in New Jersey for example, black and brown people are three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than a white person, even though... That's based on racism in your mind? That's based on historical racism for sure. I think that we see a lot of that happening, absolutely. So when we talk about decriminalization, the thought is, "Well it's not gonna be a crime anymore, you'll just get a parking ticket equivalent, you'll still be able to go to college, to get a, you know, still go to get a job and all that kind of thing." It won't ruin your future. The reality is what we're saying is... it's no longer a crime, but you still gotta go talk to the drug dealer, and who knows where that drug dealer...? You're making it sound like it's promoting street crime in a way that legalization..."