Hopes were thwarted recently when New Jersey lawmakers decided to shuttle adult-use cannabis legislation and instead potentially turn it over to voters in 2020. Leaders in Trenton should reconsider this short-sighted strategy and get to work. There is still an opportunity to get this done in the Statehouse. And while doing so, I urge our legislators to keep small, family-owned businesses top of mind.
I co-founded a micro-cultivation company with my mother when I discovered that cannabis patients in our state were not getting the quality medicine they deserved. Unfortunately, along with numerous other small businesses, I have been shortchanged by the inaction of New Jersey’s legislators. After investing in the promise of a legal adult-use market, we’re shut out of our industry entirely until legalization is the law in our state. That can happen only if legislators take up a vote now. It won’t happen for years if the decision is made by a ballot measure.
Businesses like mine currently operate in a frustrating state of legal limbo. Despite the fact that we have complied with all of the various zoning policies and state licensing procedures, our application cannot be approved until cannabis is fully legalized. Even though we have a fully functional workforce, facilities and a demand in the market, we have to wait. Countless other small businesses are in the same position. Continuous uncertainty is not the environment where entrepreneurs thrive.