New Jersey Gives Licensing Priority to Convicted Offenders

New Jersey Gives Licensing Priority to Convicted Offenders
High Times

New Jersey is making headlines with their policy of prioritizing folks with prior cannabis convictions when it comes to working legally in the industry.  While putting social equity first and allowing people of color and those affected by the War on Drugs a chance to enter the industry is nothing new, this state is taking things one step further and actually giving priority to those with convictions.  According to a video by VOA News, Tahir Johnson and Jon Dockery, two lifelong friends, have been arrested multiple times for cannabis possession. Now, thanks to this new law, they will be some of the first who will be able to sell cannabis legally in the state.  The program was set up by New Jersey’s cannabis regulatory commission, and it also creates priority status for other folks, including minority-, woman-, disabled-, and veteran-owned businesses certified as such by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, and those who have businesses owned by folks located in an impact zone, a low-income area more impacted by the War on Drugs. Then there is the social equity piece. This includes businesses owned by people who live in economically disadvantaged areas of the state, as well as those who have expunged or non-expunged prior cannabis convictions.  “Social equity businesses, diversely owned businesses, and impact zone businesses will be prioritized in the licensure process so that their applications are reviewed before other applicants—regardless of when they apply,” the state’s website explains. “Applications from entities that meet criteria for more than one priority status will be reviewed, scored, and approved in accordance with the status of highest priority.”  Johnson and Dockery received two of the 11 priority licenses given out so far because of prior cannabis convictions. Both men have been arrested multiple times for cannabis possession.  “We’ve been…

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