U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren last week sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland urging that the Department of Justice remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances list.
The Democratic senators, from New Jersey and Massachusetts, respectively, wrote that descheduling marijuana is long overdue and “would allow states to regulate cannabis as they see fit, begin to remedy the harm caused by decades of racial disparities in enforcement of cannabis laws, and facilitate valuable medical research.”
NJ’s new legalization law recognizes that there is “no difference in substance” between cannabis and marijuana. Both words refer to the same exact substance.
Cannabis is legal in NJ, but bad old “marijuana” is not. Are we seriously doing this again?
But according to the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, “cannabis refers to the regulated form of the plant (what will be grown, bought, and sold in licensed stores), whereas marijuana refers to the unregulated form of the plant (what is grown, bought, and sold in the underground market).”
It’s more than just semantics. Guidance issued this year to law enforcement officers from state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal draws a distinction between “regulated cannabis” and “marijuana and hashish,” with the latter still defined as a controlled dangerous substance, a legal term for illegal drugs.
In 2021, New Jersey legalized and decriminalized cannabis. These new laws have great potential to advance racial and social justice. But creating a brand new industry in place of a decades-long regime of prohibition – marked by aggressive, racially discriminatory enforcement – is bound to have growing pains, and bound to raise questions.
The ACLU-NJ answers some frequently asked questions about what the new cannabis laws mean, and what to expect.
What's the difference between "cannabis" and "marijuana"?
The issues encompass sacred texts about pain and suffering, obedience to religious and governmental laws, and social justice questions about who must pay a criminal price and who may turn a profit.
Staying quiet, Michaels contends, isn’t an option: “When we meet our maker, we are responsible not only for things we have done, but also the things we haven’t done.”
About 65 percent of Americans believe smoking marijuana is “morally acceptable,” while 31 percent say it isn’t, according to a 2018 Gallup survey.
Part 2 of NJ Cannabis Media’s special report on stigma and the cannabis industry.
How important are words in fighting stigma surrounding an industry that is based on a plant?
Consider the changes made to New Jersey Bills S2703 and S10.