New Jersey Lawmakers Pull Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Amid Criticism from Social Justice Advocates

The legislation passed committees in the Senate and Assembly last week, but has since been put on hold.

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New Jersey lawmakers have pulled a bill to implement the state’s adult-use cannabis program amid criticism from social justice advocates, according to a WHYY report.

“The bill that was introduced was an egregious, audacious, insidious white man money grab,” Charles Boyer, director of Salvation and Social Justice and pastor of Bethel AME Church in Woodbury, told the news outlet.

Boyer criticized the number of licenses designated in the legislation for Black and Latino communities, instead calling for more opportunities for people in communities most impacted by the war on drugs, as well as for individuals with prior low-level drug convictions, WHYY reported.

New Jersey Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) introduced the bill, S.21/A.21, Nov. 6, just days after voters passed a legalization initiative on Election Day. The legislation, which largely mirrored an unsuccessful legalization bill Scutari sponsored last year, outlined how the state’s newly legal adult-use cannabis industry would operate.

The bill passed committees in the Senate and Assembly Nov. 9, WHYY reported, and Scutari and Senate President Steve Sweeney issued a joint statement after the hearing indicating that adult-use cannabis tax revenues should go to the communities most impacted by systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

In the wake of criticism from Boyer and other social justice advocates, the legislation has been pulled from scheduled floor votes in the Senate and Assembly this week, according to WHYY.

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