Ron Wyden Joins Booker Bill

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently announced that he is co-sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 (“the Booker Bill”), a bill previously introduced by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.  The Booker Bill seeks to decriminalize marijuana across the nation and penalizes states with high arrest and incarceration rates with respect to marijuana related crimes.  The Booker Bill also seeks to establish a “Community Reinvestment Fund”, a fund comprised of monies not provided to states in violation of the disproportionate arrest rates.  The Community Reinvestment Fund will be used to provide funds to “reinvest in communities most affected by the war on drugs” and includes grants for job training, public libraries, community centers and other programs designed to enhance the community.  The Booker Bill proposes spending at least $500,000,000 for each fiscal year.

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Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Senator Wyden joined Senator Booker on a Facebook Live video to discuss the thrust of Bill and his co-sponsorship.  His position echoed Senator Booker’s, which was that both Senators viewed the Booker Bill as a vehicle to combat the disproportionate impact of the war on drugs on minority communities.

The Booker Bill is not likely to succeed.  Senator Wyden is only the second co-sponsor, after the Booker Bill was originally proposed in August of 2017.  Similar bills seeking major marijuana reform have not gained much traction.  Nevertheless, efforts such as those by Senators Booker and Wyden begin a national conversation on the issue of cannabis reform.

The Booker Bill will not likely have any material impact on New Jersey’s push to legalize recreational adult use cannabis.  We will provide updates if the Booker Bill gains additional co-sponsors.

New Jersey CannaBusiness Association: “Updates on Cannabis Laws & Business Opportunities in New Jersey”

On September 27, 2017, Saiber attorneys attended the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association event at Galloping Hills Golf Course in Kenilworth, NJ.  The event was a great opportunity for potential cannabis entrepreneurs to learn about the potential upcoming business opportunities in New Jersey from industry leaders. Over four hundred people were in attendance.  The event was sponsored in part by Athletes for Care, an organization advocating for the careers of retired athletes, which in part advocates for medicinal cannabis.  Former athletes Marvin Washington (New York Jets, Defensive End), Leonard Marshall (New York Giants, Defensive Lineman), Eugene Monroe (Baltimore Ravens, Offensive Tackle) and Riley Cote (Philadelphia Flyers, Left Winger) were present at the event and participated in panel discussions.

Logo of New Jersey Cannabusiness Association.

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The First Step for any Recreational Cannabis Business in New Jersey

New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari (D. Union) recently introduced Senate Bill 3195 (“the bill”) legislation to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational cannabis in the State of New Jersey.  There are several reasons to believe that the Act will, after deliberation and modification, be enacted into law.  First, polling data shows that the majority of New Jersey residents are in favor of legalization of cannabis.  Second, not only does legalization have general bipartisan support, but it also has the support of New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who traveled to Colorado in 2016 with Senator Scutari and several other New Jersey legislators to observe Colorado’s highly successful recreational cannabis industry and returned with very favorable impressions.  Finally, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy has declared his support for legalization of cannabis in New Jersey.  The Republican gubernatorial candidate, Kim Guadagno, has not specifically taken a position on legalization of cannabis, but instead recently equivocated during a primary debate that she both favors decriminalization and supports Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ views on cannabis. Some version of the bill will probably be enacted in 2018.  It is entirely possible that if enacted, the bill will contain new or revised provisions that do not currently exist in the proposed legislation.  This post addresses the bill as presently written.

Picture of a courthouse in Newark.

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