Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Friday, October 19, 2018

Fruitful discussion at Marijuana Town Hall


The economics of medicinal and recreational marijuana
were major focuses of Wednesday's Town Hall.

Wednesday night's Marijuana Town Hall at Washington Community School was perhaps the best town hall I can ever remember attending.

The topics were well-focused (medicinal and recreational marijuana, the business and legislative aspects and one community's experience with a medical marijuana dispensary), the speakers knowledgeable and the moderator kept everything under control and moving along.

The panelists included a Montclair councilman (Robert Russo) and its Police Chief (Todd Conforti), as well as three recreational marijuana-focused businessmen (Alex Stone, Alex Santana and Scott Rudder) and a nurse with 40+ years experience in medical marijuana (Ken Wolski).

Sen. Nick Scutari (who represents Plainfield) was scheduled to participate, but was unable to make it. He is a prime sponsor of the pending legislation which would both legalize recreational marijuana and expand the number of licenses for medical marijuana.

I thought the most important aspect of this very informative evening was the amount of information made available about the economic impact of legalization.

Colorado was cited as an example of the kinds of job opportunities that legalization opens up: from growing to processing, distribution to retail operations, plus the production of cannabis-related or -derived products (oils, edibles, etc.)

Montclair's police chief allayed fears about any crime increase with his presentation and the Montclair councilman came out in favor of legalized recreational marijuana at this event, joking that he may not get re-elected in 2020.

Norman Deen Muhammad, with whom I sat, had the same concerns as I did and we both filled out question cards about them: What kind of opportunities will be open for minorities (Blacks, Latinos and women)? and what will be done about the impact (reduction) on the black market?

Rudder assured the room that a significant portion of the opportunities would be set aside for minorities.

Participants were given the opportunity to fill out a questionnaire that included the manufacturing and disseminaton of medicinal marijuana products in Plainfield and the retail sale of recreational marijuana in Plainfield.

Mayor Mapp kicked off the evening with remarks that indicated his interest in the positive economic impact legalization could have for Plainfield if marijuana is legalized -- which everyone expects to happen soon.

Although the meeting got off to a slow start in attendance (mostly staff in the beginning), the room filled further as folks arrived a little bit later. In the end, I would say there were about 75-80 people there.

It was disappointing not to see clergy or young people represented, as these are two key constituencies in the conversation, but overall the event (which also included considerable conversation around expungement for those with simple possession records) was well-conducted and made a valuable contribution to Plainfield's discussion of marijuana.




 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]


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