Assemblyman Danielsen Holds First in Series of Marijuana Hearings

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

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:

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

Prosecutor defends his effort to oppose release 911 tape.

March 5, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, who was recently ordered to pay two news organizations more than $100,000 for legal fees in a battle over a 911 call, defended his decision not to release a recording of the call related to a fatal police shooting.

On March 2, a state Appellate Court upheld a lower court decision ordering Carey’s office to pay $71,848.28 ...

Rep. Watson Coleman Urges Support for Students Participating in Protests: Letter to Local School Officials Asks for Encouragement Rather Than Punishment

March 16, 2018

EWING, NJ – Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) sent letters to principals and other school administrators in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District urging support and encouragement for students who engage in protests and demonstrations for gun violence prevention amid reports that some New Jersey schools had suspended or otherwise punished students for their ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

East Brunswick Public Library Hosts “The Jews of Tsarist Russia and Bessarabia Before the Holocaust” Program

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) presents the fifth installment in the series “The Jews of Eastern Europe Before The Holocaust” on April 8 at 2:30 pm.

“The intent of the series is to bring to light the legacy of my Jewish ancestors, prior to their annihilation during the Shoah,” said Dr. Michael G. Kesler, ...

Need a Passport? Save Money by Getting It Before April 2

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—If you are planning to get a new United States passport, you can save $10 by submitting your application at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) before Monday, April 2.

The cost of a passport’s execution fee is rising from $25 to $35. The fee increase is mandated by the Department of State for any passport application submitted to ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...