Serving A Greater Good
According to Jeff Brown, assistant commissioner, Medicinal Marijuana at the New Jersey Department of Health in Trenton, the legalization of recreational marijuana presents tremendous opportunities to the state on many fronts.
With upward of 8% to 10% of New Jerseyans believed to use cannabis in some form, “cannabis prohibition hasn’t stopped people from using it — it often just results in negative consequences, like arrests, which can have long-lasting and far-reaching ramifications when it comes to securing housing, employment, etc.,” Brown said. “In addition, the illegal market doesn’t care about product quality, testing or ensuring that kids don’t get access, so with legalization, we can now chart a new course and work to ensure that these important areas are addressed and regulated.”
Anticipated to generate $126 million in tax revenue for budget-strapped New Jersey, the legalization of marijuana also will help support social justice. While roughly 30% of the tax revenue generated by marijuana sales will fund the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, a new five-commissioner state board headed up by Brown and created to oversee both New Jersey’s recreational and medical marijuana programs, the remaining 70% will support communities in “impact zones,” which have unfairly borne the burden of drug laws.