But will pressure on Smith & Wesson from the state of New Jersey do anything to curb street violence in places like Jersey City, where four high school students were shot dead last year? Reaction is mixed, with praise for Murphys actions from Democratic officials and more muted support from local activists.
Pamela Johnson is an anti-violence advocate who visited the Bethune community center on Martin Luther King Drive to watch Murphys announcement that he is joining the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign. The nationwide anti-gun violence initiative asks gun-makers to stop working with dealers who sell guns to straw purchasers and to widely adopt smart gun technology.
They agreed to tax recreational marijuana at a flat rate of $42 an ounce, oversee the proposed recreational program with a five-member commission, and establish an expedited process to remove the criminal records of individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.
Johnson said shes happy about any steps to address gun violence but questions whether putting pressure on gun manufacturers will do anything to stop violence on the citys south side.
Key lawmakers in New Jersey have reached an agreement on thorny issues around tax and governance that have been a stumbling block preventing marijuana from full legalization.
We face greater issues on the south side that cause gun violence, Johnson told The Jersey Journal. And so until those issues are addressed, until we have more opportunity, until we have more resources and services, until we address the economics on the south side … its not just about guns.
Johnson noted she is happy about a bill Murphy supports (A-4801) that would establish a statewide violence intervention program.
Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also said on Tuesday that the states regular reports on guns used in the commission of crimes will now break down the guns by manufacturer.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, who said police here removed one gun off the street almost daily in the last two years, applauded the move. Fulop said gun manufacturers should be targeted because the types of guns used in crimes in New Jersey are low-level, cheap guns and their makers know they are not made for sporting or self-defense.
Hopefully this is the start of a change not just in New Jersey but nationally because we know action isnt going to happen in Congress, Fulop said.
Paterson had 12 homicides last year, eight from people using guns. Its mayor, Andre Sayegh, told The Jersey Journal hes happy with any statewide attempt to lessen gun violence.
My common refrain is, guns just dont grow legs and get into our cities, Sayegh said. So were looking to name and shame these manufacturers and every bit helps as far as controlling the flow.
Michael Griffin works with Johnson on violence issues in Jersey City. Griffin said only federal legislation can stop the flow of guns into New Jersey from states with lax gun laws. Pressuring Glock wont do anything to stop street violence, he said.
You have guns thats been in our community for decades that are still being used, Griffin said. Its not all about the new guns.
The Rev. Alonzo Perry Sr. is pastor at Jersey Citys New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. Perry was on stage with Murphy on Tuesday and told a story of hearing gunfire outside his church office last year while providing pre-marriage counseling to his son and daughter-in-law.
He lauded the governors announcement while acknowledging its a first step. Perry said advocates like Johnson and Griffin may not see a major impact immediately, but putting pressure on gun manufacturers is a necessary move.
The issue is multi-faceted and this is just one step in a whole lot of steps,” he said. Its only part of a bigger picture.
Perry is part of the advocacy group New Jersey Together, which is a member of the group leading the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign.
Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.
Shares of major cannabis companies rallied Tuesday after New Jersey politicians outlined plans to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana in the state.
Several New Jersey legislators joined Democratic Governor Phil Murphy in announcing Tuesday a bill that would allow adult-use marijuana in the Garden State. The legislation would also allow municipalities that are home to a cultivator or manufacturer to collect the revenue from a 2 percent tax on the product within their jurisdiction.
“Legalizing adult-use marijuana is a monumental step to reducing disparities in our criminal justice system,” Murphy said in a press release. “After months of hard work and thoughtful negotiations, Im thrilled to announce an agreement with my partners in the Legislature on the broad outlines of adult-use marijuana legislation.”
If the bill is passed and signed into law, the New Jersey adult-use marijuana market would be governed by a Cannabis Regulatory Commission, composed of five members appointed by the governor. The commission will be tasked with promoting regulations to govern the industry and will oversee applications for licensing.
Growing cannabis also would be subject to an excise tax of $42 per ounce and municipalities that are home to a cultivator or manufacturer will receive the revenue from a 2 percent tax. Cities and townships home to a retailer would receive the revenue from a 3 percent tax on products sold.
Many of the largest cannabis companies in the world rallied Tuesday following the announcement from the Democratic governor, including a number of Canadian growers.
Cronos Group rallied 4.5 percent, Canopy Growth gained 3.7 percent, Tilray added 3.4 percent and Aurora rose 2.6 percent. Nine of the top 10 holdings of the $1.1 billion ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF — a fund that tracks the equity performance of many companies that legally cultivate cannabis — gained in midday trading Tuesday.
Some U.S.-based companies in the cannabis space also rose Tuesday. New York-based Acreage Holdings, where former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner serves as a director, gained 2.7 percent. Meanwhile, Green Thumb Industries, an investment of billionaire Leon Coopermans, rose 5.6 percent. Both stocks trade on exchanges in Canada.
Certain provisions in the bill also establish an “expedited expungement process” for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses. The bill would include a virtual process that would automatically prevent certain marijuana offenses from being taken into account in certain areas such as education, housing, and occupational licensing.
The lawmakers also said the legislation includes “a number of provisions” designed to guarantee diverse participation in the burgeoning industry for minorites and women-owned businesses. Some states that have moved to legalize recreational use, like Massachusetts, have struggled to broaden participation in the new market to black and Latino entrepreneurs.
Marijuana remains illegal on a federal level in the United States, but 10 states and the District of Columbia have allowed its use for recreational purposes. Michigan in November became one of the latest states to OK recreational marijuana.
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