The governor noted incarceration inequality as the failures of the state’s current “broken marijuana laws” as he announced the commission that will work on the new laws to regulate legal cannabis.
Voters approved the amendment Tuesday by about a two to one margin. But it will not take effect until Jan. 1.
“Our marijuana laws have done more harm than good,” Gov. Phil Murphy said as he announced members of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Dianna Houenou, who will chair that commission, warned this is just the first step.
“We must make sure the next steps we take will right the wrongs of the past,” she said Friday.
Houenou said casting her vote for the amendment was “truly an emotional moment for me.”
She said it made her take stock of all the work that had been done and the people she met along the way.
They “inspired me to keep demanding that racial justice remain at the heart of the legalization movement,” Houenou said. “The people whose lives were turned upside down by laws rooted in deliberate attempts to criminalize black and brown communities.”
Black residents three times more likely to be arrested over their white counterparts, Murphy noted.
The amendment does not legalize unregulated marijuana, and requires the Legislature to enact a law establishing a regulatory scheme for legal cannabis, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal explained this week.
He warned that all current laws relating to marijuana continue to apply until several steps are made, including a law creating regulatory framework.
Jeff Brown was named executive director of the commission.
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