Governor Phil Murphy (D) and Attorney General Matt Platkin announced some New Jersey adult use cannabis tax revenue will support non-profits helping those suffering from violence in Impact Zones harmed by the War on Drugs.
Fifteen million dollars will be distributed through grants. It includes $5 million from the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) Fund.
Addressing Violence Worsened by the War on Drugs
The money will support 29 non-profits. New Jersey’s Community-Based Violence Intervention (CBVI) Program will distribute the grants. CBVI grantees serve children at risk for violence and older youth from ages 16 to 24, as well as adults who are at high risk for violence or victimization. The program funds a network of violence prevention services. The network includes targeted programs for at-risk youth and street intervention initiatives grounded in a public health approach to violence prevention.
Community violence intervention and prevention programs offered by CBVI providers cover a range of services. Their services include street outreach, group and individual counseling, trauma recovery services, mentoring, career development, cognitive behavioral therapy, case management, after-school programming, and community referrals.
CBVI is overseen by the Division of Violence Intervention and Victim Assistance (VIVA). Platkin created it to support his commitment to elevating and formalizing violence prevention and victim services work within the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Social Justice and New Jersey
Twenty-nine non-profits across New Jersey will receive grant money.
“The New Jersey Community-Based Violence Intervention program has proven to be successful in its mission to disrupt the cycles of violence. And support vulnerable survivors of this epidemic in communities across our state,” Murphy declared. “An additional investment into the program allows us to expand these services to more communities through 29 dedicated organizations seeking to build on innovative and evidence-based approaches to reduce violence.”
“The $15 million in grant awards we are announcing today deepen our support for community-led solutions to reduce violence, as part of our extensive public safety strategy alongside traditional law enforcement services,” explained Platkin. “The state’s historic investment in innovative violence intervention programming has helped make New Jersey a leader in combating gun violence and empowered communities to reduce violence in places that have experienced far too much of it.”
The Murphy Administration has invested $40 million into CBVI programming over three years.
New Jersey Cannabis Tax Revenue Grant Funding
The 2024 round of CBVI funding emphasizes and prioritizes strategies called violence intervention or “tertiary” services. They address violence by working with individuals who are at a high risk of violence or victimization, typically through street outreach.
Through street outreach, violence interventionists and outreach workers respond to situations in real time. They work in hospitals outside schools, in parks, on the streets, and at neighborhood functions.
Individuals performing this work have a strong presence in areas with the highest concentrations of street violence. They use their credibility in the community to help de-escalate and mediate conflict. These services are recognized as providing the most immediate benefit in reducing and responding to violence and complementing traditional public safety strategies such as policing. Tertiary service programs also include “safe passage” initiatives that provide outreach by credible messengers to youth in and around schools that experience high rates of violence to intervene in, prevent, mediate, and de-escalate the conflict.
This year’s grant program increased the total award ceiling for tertiary service providers to $750,000.
Overall, 29 CBVI programs in 11 counties will receive funding that comes partially from cannabis tax revenue. That includes services to 14 of the 15 communities that have been most impacted by shooting incidents.
Those communities are likely the hardest hit by the War on Drugs in New Jersey.
The programs funded through this award of cannabis tax revenueare:
The Alcove Center for Grieving Children and Families, Inc
Wellbeing & Equity Innovations, Inc.
*Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey
Center for Family Services, Inc.
Casa P.R.A.C. Inc.**
Hopeloft, A NJ Nonprofit Corporation
Life Worth Living, Inc.**
United Advocacy Group
Covenant House New Jersey
Urban Care Foundation
Newark Community Street Team**
The Bridge Inc.
The HUBB Arts & Trauma Center**
United Community Corporation
Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. **
Anti-Violence Coalition of Hudson County
The Guazabara Foundation, Inc.**
Isles, Inc. with the Trenton Community Street Team**
James R Halsey Foundation of the Arts
Prevention Education, Inc. T/A PEI Kids
Salvation and Social Justice**
HMH Hospitals Corp. (Jersey Shore University Medical Center)
St. Joseph’s U. Medical Center, Paterson Healing Collective
SOLID Foundation Youth Outreach
Revive South Jersey
Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc.
Elizabeth Youth Theatre Ensemble
** Denotes violence intervention/tertiary services program provider
New Jersey Cannabis Tax Revenue and Social Justice
The question of where New Jersey’s adult use cannabis tax revenue would go has been a big question. Prominent New Jersey cannabis and social justice advocates did not want it go to fund the police. Many wanted it to go to repair the harms done by the War on Drugs.