It was announced last week that Krista Nash would be the first member of the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission to be appointed. Nash was appointed by State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester).
Nash is a licensed social worker from South Jersey. She is married to Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash. So she is exceedingly well-connected politically.
NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission Launching Issues
The commission and its regulations have been delayed for months. It was supposed to be established with regulations by now.
Some insiders have speculated it is due to the lawsuit holding up the announcement of the dispensaries from last year. Arguments on that case are to be heard this month.
Governor Phil Murphy has to appoint three people, while Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) has the power to appoint one person. So there will ultimately be five. Like Coughlin, Sweeney only had one seat to appoint.
Many insiders have speculated Deputy Health Commissioner Jeff Brown will be appointed the Executive Director since he has been handling all such issues related to cannabis thus far.
The details of the commission were laid out in the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Act, which was signed into law last July. The commission was designed to regulate adult use as well as medical marijuana (or medical cannabis).
People have said it will be similar to the Casino Control Commission, which regulates gambling in the state.
Even if the commission implements many regulations, implementation legislation is still going to be needed after the ballot initiative to deal with certain issues such as social equity and small business 0rvisions.
Unfortunately, this process for a legal NJ cannabis market will likely drag on more than it already has.
In Massachusetts, it was two years between the passage of their ballot referendum and the beginning of their legal market.
There is a provision that the medical dispensaries will be able to sell adult-use cannabis. So at least, that might not be a problem.