Government

Assemblyman Danielsen Holds First in Series of Marijuana Hearings

Danielsen Announces Three Marijuana Hearings Across NJ
5411d9900940c7df34e2_DSC_0593.jpg
Assm. Joe Danielsen at Garden State Dispensary Credits: Malik Lyons
5411d9900940c7df34e2_DSC_0593.jpg

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ - Lifelong Franklin resident, Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17 Middlesex/Somerset), chairman of the Assembly Oversight, Reform, and Federal Relations Committee is leading discussions regarding legalized marijuana in New Jersey. 

Danielsen's committee heard testimony for several hours regarding the impact of expanding legalized marijuana Monday, March 5. Currently, in New Jersey only medical marijuana is legal.   

“We started as a blank slate, and the committee received a great education, but it’s just the beginning," Danielsen said. "This is an important civil justice, health care, and law enforcement issue. We will hear all viewpoints and continue to get an education."

Sign Up for E-News

Monday's committee hearing included testimony from lawyers, doctors, former law enforcement, medical marijuana patients, elected officials and other stakeholders. The impact of prospective marijuana legislation on public health, criminal justice system and the economy was discussed. 

The majority of the testimonies can be found by clicking here

Shaleen Title, an attorney and one of five members of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission warned against decriminalization and the disproportionate legal consequences minorities face concerning marijuana arrests.   

"After Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana in 2008 the number of arrests, of course, went down significantly, but racial disparity among those arrests have only increased," Title said. Removing the penalties from marijuana without taking attentional steps towards social justice is a half measure, it is simply not enough."    

Racial disparities in New Jersey marijuana arrests are at an all-time high, according to ACLU-NJ. In 2013, Black New Jerseyans were three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite similar usage rates, according to ACLU-NJ.

"In my district (17) the ACLU has reported that a black man is 15 times more likely to be arrested than the same user that is a white male," Danielsen said. 

Retired DEA Supervisory Special Agent, Jack Teitelman, is the founder and CEO of the Titan Group a full-service DEA compliance risk management firm, provided testimony to the panel.

"In a properly regulated market, we develop a system where we are drying up the black market," Teitelman said. "The benefits of a properly regulated NJ cannabis market means we are going from the shadows of cartels and drug dealers to business owners, creating a stronger workforce and increased tax revenue... There is more good associated with a regulated industry than one of prohibition or complete decriminalization."

In addition to Monday's committee hearing, Danielsen has embarked on various field trips to assist him during his fact-finding mission. One such trip was to one of the six medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey, the Garden State Dispensary (GSD).

Danielsen along with other elected officials toured GSD Feb. 27.

Woodbridge Mayor, John E. McCormac discussed the impact the dispensary has had on his community. "As the host mayor, I have to say this place has not been an issue for us one little bit," McCormac said.

During the March 13 Township Council meeting a local resident asked if the township has any plans regarding the legalization of marijuana. 

Mayor Phil Kramer said the council is waiting to see what will be done on the state level before any actions will be taken. 

There will be more public hearings throughout New Jersey in the coming months, so the public can express their thoughts to elected officials.

"The Assembly is of the opinion, that we only have one shot at doing this right the first time," Danielsen said. "This is too important to rush. The process must include heavy input from our communities." 

According to Danielsen's Facebook page, the "Cannabis Listening Tour" will be on the following dates and locations starting at 10 AM:

Saturday, April 14th — Middlesex County College

Saturday, April 21st — Rowan University

Saturday, May 12th — Bergen County Community College

Visit and read your exclusive Franklin news at TAPinto Franklin Township  24/7 for FREE: TAPintoFranklinTownship.net.

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Diegnan, Pinkin and Karabinchak Highlight State Support for Dismal Swamp with Environmental and Local Leaders

June 4, 2018

EDISON, NJ - State Sen. Patrick Diegnan, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, and Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak were recently joined by local elected officials and environmental groups in hailing a $200,000 state appropriation championed by the 18th district legislators to complete the scope of work needed by “Dismal Swamp Preservation Act” to survey the boundaries and properly enact the ...

East Brunswick Republican Chair Jesal Amin Announces Dhar Khona to Join Council Ticket

June 15, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ- Newly elected Republican Municipal Chairman Jesal Amin announced today that Dharmendra “Dhar” Khona will join the Republican ticket for Township Council in East Brunswick.  Khona will replace Tom Szaro on the ticket, who had to step aside for personal reasons. The remaining candidates on the ticket are Councilwoman Camille Clark and former school board ...

EBPL Open on Summer Sundays

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—Due to an increase in demand of library usage, East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center Drive) is extending Sunday hours throughout July.

The library plans on using the additional hours to host more library programming and provide services to the community, including passports, access to the computer lab and EB Create makerspace, and ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

Girl Scout Seeks Donations of Craft Items Tomorrow

June 6, 2018

Hi, EB Community, 

 
I am Alexandra Gonzalez. I am currently a Junior at EBHS. I am as well a Girl Scout and working on my Gold Award. I am in search of donations and would like to inform you on the issue my project will address, how you can help, and why this is important. 

The project I am working on will be impacting the Special education students in East Brunswick Public ...