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The new initiative is a response to the growing illicit market for marijuana, even in states like New Jersey where it is legal for recreational purposes.
In addition to encouraging people to purchase from legal dispensaries, the new campaign aims to make people aware of the untested and allegedly unsafe products that may be available on the streets
Some smoke shops are finding clever ways to illegally sell cannabis to customers.
Former New Jersey Attorney General Chris Porrino saw it firsthand while doing some field research. “What I’ve heard more about recently is, we’re charging this amount for the vape pipe or the bong, and it’s X amount dollars more than it otherwise would be. And the marijuana is a gift. The notion that that makes the illegal legal, it’s laughable,” Porrino said.
The cannabis industry continues to flourish in New Jersey. The New Jersey Convention Center in Edison recently hosted an expo to connect businesses with the support needed to help them launch their operations.
When Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law empowering New Jersey courts to automatically expunge more than 360,000 criminal convictions involving small amounts of marijuana, social justice advocates considered it a good beginning. But they’re concerned that expungement is not happening as quickly as they had envisioned because of logistical bottlenecks.
“It’s very hazy, it’s very ambiguous,” says employment attorney Marissa Mastroianni. “I think a lot of employers are deciding to take a hands-off approach until more specific guidance/regulations come out from the state. And the employers who do decide to take action now really need to be buttoned up with their procedure.”
The 420 Expo was held Saturday at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison.
Organizers of the weekend event said it was more than just a celebration of marijuana, but a chance to break its stigmas.
A man who was recently behind bars for marijuana said events like this will help normalize the industry.
New Jersey employers have finally received a roadmap from the state on marijuana in the workplace. Late last week the Cannabis Regulatory Commission issued the long-awaited guidance as a first step toward the development of permanent standards outlining how businesses should respond if a worker is impaired due to marijuana. A key recommendation says employers can, but aren’t required to, use so-called Workplace Impairment Recognition Experts, or WIREs, when determining if an employee is high at work.
The CRC says that workers have the right to use marijuana on their off-time but adds that businesses also have the right to keep a drug-free workplace.
“Employers have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace…Employers may require an employee to undergo a drug test upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s usage of cannabis or cannabis products…” the CRC wrote in its guidance.
Some Mount Vernon residents are planning a protest over concerns about future cannabis dispensary locations.
Jesse Van Lew, with Save Mount Vernon, spent Friday afternoon passing out flyers to advertise a protest scheduled for Saturday.
He and many other residents fear a medical marijuana dispensary may open on East Third Street and South Fourth Avenue.
In Seaside Heights, Mayor Tony Vaz says about 30 to 40 summonses are issued on any given weekend. Mike Cerra, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, said he has been getting reports of other towns along the Shore facing similar challenges. “I think there’s a lot of perception that it’s free to consume or use anywhere and it’s not the case,” Cerra said.