U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-10) is “outraged” New Jersey denied medical cannabis licenses to all 56 Black-owned businesses who applied.
“I am outraged to hear that Black-owned businesses have been shut out of the state’s cannabis marketplace. Black users are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white users, even though overall use for both groups is almost the same,” Payne said in a statement.
“New Jersey has a chance to correct this inequality and allow people abused by the system to finally benefit from it with a fair distribution of cannabis business license. Instead, we are seeing the same inequality with these licenses that we see in marijuana arrests. Gov. Phil Murphy promised that the state’s cannabis industry would right the wrongs of the past as it concerns social justice. Now, New Jersey needs to uphold this promise.”
Payne’s comments come after the African American Chamber of Commerce said that Black entrepreneurs had been excluded from New Jersey’s cannabis business.
“Many Black-owned businesses have been trying to get into the cannabis industry since 2012 when cannabis for medicinal purposes became legal in New Jersey,” AACCNJ President and CEO John Harmon, Jr. said in his owned statement.
“No Black-owned business received a license back then, and none has received a license since the legalization of cannabis for recreational use thus far. It’s a costly proposition for Black license applicants to wait indefinitely while the CRC drags its feet in awarding licenses.”