Gov. Phil Murphy (D) named Dianna Houenou, a current administration staffer and former policy counsel to the ACLU of New Jersey, to lead the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission. And she immediately made clear that social justice will be a key objective
“Cannabis legalization and regulation is just one illustration of much larger work that is needed to reform our drug policies wholesale,” she told The Root. “We really are looking to make sure that equity is built into a regulated structure at the onset.”
“There is no limit to how big we can dream and how creative we can get to make sure that people of color and specifically black people, who have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the war on drugs—making sure that they have room in this new industry,” she said. “To benefit and to take part in setting up what can be a great boon for communities.”
Murphy, who had consistently campaigned in favor of the legalization referendum in the lead up to Election Day, said that Houenou “has been a critical voice for social justice and equity on my team for the past year and a half after spending several years working on the fight to legalize marijuana with the ACLU.”
“Her commitment to doing what is right and to leaving no one behind has powered our criminal justice reform agenda, and I am immensely proud that she will be continuing that commitment as Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission,” he said.