U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) says he’ll work to ensure an “equitable, safe, and accountable” New Jersey cannabis marketplace in light of Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signing a bill that will finally allow legal recreational marijuana in the Garden State.
“Today, Governor Murphy signed legislation into law that reflects the will of New Jerseyans who made their voices loud and clear last November when they voted to legalize recreational cannabis use for adults,” Menendez said in a statement.
“As always, the needs of our state will guide my work in the U.S. Senate, and I stand ready to advocate for federal policies that respect and protect the ability of local enterprises and law-abiding citizens to do business in a cannabis marketplace that is transparent, equitable, safe and accountable.”
As a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, Menendez has been pushing to open up the insurance and banking industries to legal cannabis businesses operating in states that have legalized medical and adult recreational use.
Currently, cannabis businesses operating under state laws that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana have been mostly denied access to the insurance market and banking system because insurance providers and banks can be prosecuted under federal law.
Without access to insurance products such as property, casualty and title insurance, businesses remain vulnerable, and employees, customers and the community face safety risks.
Additionally, without the ability to access bank accounts, accept credit cards or write checks, these businesses must operate using large amounts of cash, creating safety risks for businesses and surrounding communities, and making it more difficult for local and state governments to collect taxes.
The governor signed two marijuana-related bills earlier today: one that immediately decriminalizes the individual possession of less than six ounces of marijuana, while the other paves the way for legalization – though it will take the state about six months to set up their legal market.