The ballot question to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis in the state will foster economic development,
advance racial and social equity, and strengthen public health and safety, according to new polling

(NEW JERSEY) — New Jersey deserves a fresh approach to cannabis legalization, one that begins to repair the harms the war on drugs continues to inflict upon Black and brown New Jerseyans and delivers economic opportunities for marginalized communities, new jobs for residents, and much-needed tax revenue for the state as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. And voters are committed to ensuring fairness, equity, and justice in the state’s cannabis laws.

That’s the message from voters in a survey released by NJ CAN 2020, a diverse coalition of New Jersey organizations and individuals committed to changing New Jersey’s cannabis laws by securing a “Yes” vote on the November ballot. The campaign, launched in March, has added several notable partners fresh off new polling that shows widespread support for this measure.

“New Jersey has a pivotal opportunity to advance racial justice and move the state forward through marijuana legalization this November, and New Jerseyans are overwhelmingly clear that they’re ready to seize this moment,” said ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha. “A broad range of voices will be decisive in getting a yes vote and decisive in implementation, and adding new members with important perspectives in the NJ CAN 2020 coalition will bring us that much closer to ending racially disparate marijuana arrests and creating an inclusive new industry to benefit all New Jerseyans.”

The campaign’s Steering Committee includes civil rights organizations, law enforcement, doctors, labor unions, cannabis industry leaders, and others. Committee members say that legalization of adult-use cannabis will build a more equitable and healthier community for all New Jersey residents. Some of the newest members include the Drug Policy Action, Scotts Miracle-Gro, UFCW Local 152, and New Approach PAC.

“The approval of cannabis for adult use would bring the state as much as $300 million per year in new tax revenue,” said Scott Rudder, President, New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. “Over ten years, that’s billions of dollars that could be directly funneled back into New Jersey’s communities and be used to support schools, invest in infrastructure, and provide healthcare services for those who need it most.”

According to polling data released by the campaign, two-thirds of New Jersey voters support the measure – more than twice the number of voters who oppose it. In addition, an even larger number – over seven in ten (72%) – believe that cannabis should be taxed, regulated, and legalized for adults.

“At a time when the pandemic has created massive deficits across the state, a tax on legal cannabis could be a critical step to creating jobs and maintaining services New Jerseyans need,” said Hugh Giordano, Union Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers Union/UFCW Local 152.

Nearly three-quarters of state voters also support ending the collateral consequences of cannabis arrests, including an end to discrimination against those with prior cannabis-related convictions when applying for jobs, housing, and financial aid.

“Regulating cannabis will address the tremendous, ongoing harms caused by cannabis prohibition laws, which have disproportionately harmed communities of color,” said R. Todd Edwards, NJ State NAACP Political Action Chairman. “Our current cannabis laws have ruined countless lives and continue to do so. This initiative has the potential to remove unfairly harsh punishments resulting from cannabis-related charges that harm entire generations of families.”

Advocates in health and medicine say normalizing and simplifying the process for accessing cannabis will have incredible benefits for the patients who need it most. Even in New Jersey’s existing medicinal cannabis program, many chronic illnesses are not covered, including brain injuries, depression, and sickle cell.

“The public health benefits of cannabis legalization and regulation are many: proper labeling, testing for purity and safety, and finally achieving an adequate and affordable supply for medical cannabis patients — especially veterans who use it for pain and PTSD,” said Dr. David Nathan, Founder and President, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation. “Perhaps most importantly, regulation of the already thriving cannabis industry will actually help decrease underage access and use, as we now see in convincing government data from legalized states.”

NJ CAN 2020 said support for the measure cuts across almost all sectors of the New Jersey electorate, including a majority of Republicans and more than two-thirds of Latinx and Black voters, as well as college-educated voters.

“The moment has come for legal, adult-use cannabis in the Garden State,” said Bridget Hennesey, vice president for government relations at Weedmaps, the global cannabis technology firm. “It’s no surprise that the majority of New Jersey voters favor this ballot initiative. The legislature has crafted a measure that is common sense, designates regulatory responsibility within state government, and sets out a reasonable tax structure. It can serve as a model to follow for other states considering cannabis legalization in the years to come.”

Coalition members include:

  • ACLU-NJ
  • NAACP
  • Latino Action Network
  • American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp
  • NJ Cannabusiness Association
  • Porzio Law
  • Archer Greiner
  • Doctors for Cannabis Regulation
  • Drug Policy Action
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro
  • UFCW Local 152
  • New Approach PAC

For more information on NJ CAN 2020 or vote-by-mail, visit https://www.njcan2020.org/.

View the polling memo HERE.

About NJ CAN 2020

NJ CAN 2020 is a campaign with the mission of getting a “YES” vote on the November 3rd, 2020 ballot question for New Jersey to legalize marijuana. NJ CAN 2020’s membership draws from a diverse range of expertise — leaders in public safety, medicine, civil rights, faith leadership, the cannabis industry, law, labor, politics, and criminal justice reform — who have come together with a shared goal of changing New Jersey’s laws to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult use. We are an inclusive organization committed to legalization that focuses on racial and social justice as a required component.

 

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