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Decriminalization bill stuck, new women-led organization, SAFE Act has a chance

NJ Cannabis Insider produces premium, exclusive weekly content and monthly events geared toward those interested in the marijuana and hemp industries. Here are the headlines in Issue 134, published on Oct. 1. To subscribe, visit njcannabisinsider.biz

Decriminalization bill will not go to vote before Election Day

There won’t be a vote before the Nov. 3 election on a bill that would decriminalize marijuana, a key state senator tells NJ Cannabis Insider.

But Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, said he would act “immediately” on the matter once voters decided whether to legalize the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.

We reported last month that Sen. Ronald Rice, D-Essex, demanded Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Scutari, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, to schedule Rice’s bill for a hearing.

When there was no response, Rice, who leads the Legislative Black Caucus, demanded Sweeney replace Scutari as chair. Sweeney took no action.

Rice vehemently opposes marijuana legalization. Scutari said he won’t act on the decriminalization bill because he is concerned it may undermine the success of the ballot question to legalize marijuana. (By Susan K. Livio 5/8 NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Read the full story by subscribing to NJ Cannabis Insider.

A new women-led organization launches with some familiar faces.

A new women-led cannabis nonprofit group popped up this week, with a few familiar faces in the leadership. Cannabis Advisory Group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, launched this week with Jackie Cornell, 1906 1/4 u2032s chief of health and policy innovations, and Jackie Ferraro, the former head of communications for New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, at the helm.

In a press release sent to NJ Cannabis Insider on Tuesday, the group said CAG arose out of conversations between Cornell and Ferraro about the need for improved education and communication about cannabis regulation between government agencies and the private sector.

“Over the last several months, we have seen incredible growth and potential for cannabis expansion around the country,” Cornell said. “The Cannabis Advisory Group was born out of conversations that this is not merely an industry — it is a movement. I’m excited to collaborate with a growing team of thought leaders to craft gold standards that engage and inspire expanding states.” (By Justin Zaremba 5/8 NJ Cannabis Insider)

Read the full story by subscribing to NJ Cannabis Insider.

With Election Day a month away, we size up pro- and against campaigns for the Public Question.

Some of the state’s progressive organizations have publicly announced their support for the ballot question seeking to legalize marijuana in New Jersey by joining a growing coalition.

While quieter, the opposition remains.

Many people previously involved with Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (RAMP), the former New Jersey chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), have joined a new campaign, Don’t Let NJ Go to Pot. Gregg Edwards, the executive director, said the organization formed in July with the intention of defeating the ballot question.

“I’m surprised at the number of people who I have spoken to who have said they’re in favor of legalization, but opposed to doing it this way,” he said, noting how the question would amend the constitution, but does not set limits on THC content in products, or give much overview at all as to how the state would regulate cannabis. (By Amanda Hoover 5/8 NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

This story first appeared in NJ Cannabis Insider. Read the full story.

Dems urge Senate GOP to pass SAFE act as part of COVID relief

A provision to allow banks to provide financial services to legal cannabis businesses remains in the latest version of the Heroes Act, the coronavirus stimulus package championed by House Democrats.

The banking bill, known as the SAFE Banking Act, passed the House in September 2019 but Senate Republicans have refused to consider it. To get around the Senate roadblock, House Democrats have sought to use the stimulus bill as a vehicle to passage.

While the latest stimulus legislation pared down federal spending by a third to $2.2 trillion from the original $3.4 trillion in the House-passed coronavirus bill in May, the marijuana provision remained.

“The continued inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the updated Heroes Act is important for the cannabis industry and its workers,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., the chief sponsor of the banking bill.

The CannaInfluencers: The people shaping the N.J. cannabis industry (Special series)

In the weeks leading up to Election Day and the vote on the adult-use ballot referendum, you’ll meet current and former regulators, entrepreneurs, advocates, lobbyists, lawyers and more. This week meet: Jeff Brown, head of the Department of Health’s Medicinal Marijuana Program, ACLU-NJ executive director Amol Sinha and Paul Josephson of Duane Morris.

Read the profiles today by subscribing to NJ Cannabis Insider

NJ Cannabis Insider is a weekly subscriber-based trade journal produced by NJ Advance Media, which provides content to NJ.com and The Star-Ledger. Learn about NJ Cannabis Insider and its monthly live events and forums here.

For more information, you may reach us via email here.

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