Greetings From New Jersey, Now The 15th State To Go Green

By Stu Zakim

After a long rollercoaster rider, which saw the Cannabis legislation in New Jersey go through many iterations, this past Monday, it finally became legal.  The Garden State now stands in a unique position of being the epicenter of legal Adult Use and medical Cannabis on the East Coast.  The bigger question is can the current infrastructure manage what will surely be a significant increase in consumers purchasing legal Cannabis without minimizing the importance of keeping the state’s over 100 thousand medical patients fully supplied with the medicine they need to manage their lives in a healthier way than opiates.

Stu Zakim and NORML:’s Keith Stroup

In most of the states where the voters or legislators have approved laws that make Cannabis use legal, there has been a major hit on the medical patients.  New Jersey, in learning from the other states, have addressed a number of issues to avoid making the same mistakes.  They need to be applauded for their focus on the patients rather than the Adult use consumer as it’s all about how the plant makes life better for all.

Besides the celebration of the approval of the bill and Governor Murphy’s signing of it, the new bill will finally deal with the long term impacts of social injustice and equity that have affected communities of brown, black and Latino’s.  No longer can the police arrest someone if they smell of Cannabis or alcohol based on that fact; there are other long needed corrections to how the police deal with underage and Adult use Cannabis in place thanks to the concerted efforts of industry leaders like Leo Bridgewater, Ed Devereux, Scott Rudder, William Caruso, Susanna Short, Happy Munkey and others.

Curved Papers founder Michael O’Malley and Stu Zakim at the 2018 NYC Cannabis Parade

From a financial perspective, New Jersey is situated between two of the most populous areas in the I-95 corridor on Amtrak – NYC and Philadelphia – and should reap those rewards as it expands its medical program and moves towards awarding more licenses before moving on the Adult Use dispensaries.

As a communications strategist who has spent 8 years preparing for this moment on the East Coast, validates all the principals my friend David Rheins created with his forward thinking Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and their many media properties (including MJNews Network and Marijuana Channel One used to help influence public opinion through educational programs long before others joined that space.

As the legalization process moves forward in NJ and hopefully NYC, please check MJNews for regular updates.  It’s going to be an exciting time and thanks for reading.