The State of Legalized Cannabis in NJ

Steve Adubato sits down with Michael C. McQueeny, Esq. Chair, Genova Burns Cannabis Practice, to discuss the legalization of cannabis in NJ, the expansion of medical cannabis, and the impact of the vaping crisis.

10/19/19 #325






"Hi, I'm Steve Adubato. Welcome to State of Affairs. We are coming to you from the Agnes Varis NJTV Studio. We are pleased to welcome Michael McQueeney. He is an attorney. He's the Chair of the Genova Burns Law Firms' Cannabis Practice. Good to see you Michael. Good to see you Steve. Where are we with the law in New Jersey, or the lack of a law in New Jersey, that legalizes recreational use of marijuana? The history of adult use legalization in New Jersey is a story of hurry up and wait. [laughter] Which is to say, we're still waiting to see it happen. We've had multiple attempts since Governor Murphy came into office, and we're still just waiting for it to be pushed along in the legislature. What's blocked it? You know, listen. There's a lot of different takes on that. What... the take that came out the last legalization effort was that the governor just didn't play enough transactional politics, that he wasn't willing to make deals with people, the deals that people were looking for to get it across the finish line. But there are some who have genuine... we had Senator Ron Rice, check out that interview on State of Affairs, go on our website, Senator Rice, who represents his community in the City of Newark, he was like, "Look, bad idea. It's unfair to African-Americans. It would hurt African-Americans disproportionately in terms of use and abuse." You say? Well I say, I... listen, I think we're never going to sway Senator Ron Rice on this issue. But there's a couple important things to keep in mind right? That we have one of the most progressive bills nationwide. There's set-asides for minority-owned businesses. Explain what that means Michael. Set-asides? So basically, under this bill's structure, 30 percent of all license types across the board are reserved for minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, and again, this is not just to speak about remedying the injustices of the... of what happened during prohibition, but actually acting on it, and providing incentives that say that licenses will not go out the door unless specifically they go to minority-owned businesses. You know, let's break this down a little bit. 11 states in the country have legalized recreational use of marijuana. 33 states have medical use of marijuana that is legal. New Jersey, a couple months back, expanded the medical, because right now in New Jersey it's legal for medical use of marijuana with a doctor's... Correct. ...note, if you will. Documentation. Mm hmm. Script. How has it been expanded? So listen, the history of the medical program here is interesting, to say the least. Governor Corzine signs it into law his last day in office. Governor Christie admittedly was not for it. So..."