NAACP: New Jersey cannabis panel illegal without a Black man as member

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The New Jersey chapter of the NAACP is charging that the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission is technically illegal since none of its five appointed members are Black men.

The commission, which was completed Feb. 25, is made up of one Black woman, one white man, one white woman, one Latino man and one Latino woman, Gothamist reported.

But the absence of any Black men on the commission – which is tasked with regulating the state’s medical and adult-use marijuana businesses – prompted New Jersey NAACP attorney Gregg Zeff to write to state authorities that the panel fails to meet the state’s own mandatory criteria.

State law requires that the commission include at least one representative from a “national organization with a stated mission of studying, advocating, or adjudicating against minority historical oppression,” Zeff noted in his argument that none of the members meet that requirement.

The president of the New Jersey NAACP, Richard Smith, said the commission should either remove one of the appointed members or add two more.

The Black woman on the commission – Dianna Houenou – is also the commission’s chair.