By Brian String, UFCW Local 152 President
On the ballot in New Jersey this election cycle is the question to amend the state constitution and make adult recreational cannabis legal. Our elected officials couldn’t get it done and have left it up to us, the voters of New Jersey, to decide this question.
I fully support legalization and am asking our union’s members and the voters in New Jersey to vote “yes.”
It should no longer be a question at this point. Cannabis helps people.
It helps people with chronic pain stay off prescription medicine. It helps people with addiction issues break away from what’s controlling them. It helps relieve glaucoma, anxiety, and many other ailments.
I have seen cancer patients get so sick from their prescribed medication they can no longer eat. But I’ve also seen how cannabis helped them improve their quality of life, just by allowing them to feel well enough to do something as simple as having a nutritious meal again.
Patients with chronic illnesses often do not have the time to wait to be approved for a medical card. They should be able to have the legal freedom to make this personal choice to improve their quality of life.
Furthermore, anyone who lives in New Jersey knows the state needs revenue. According to experts, cannabis sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $37 billion by 2024. Here is an industry that in the first two fiscal years since legalization in Massachusetts collected more than $122 million in tax revenue.
For context, New Jersey made roughly $160 million from all alcohol beverage taxes in 2019.
It’s a no-brainer that New Jersey could use all the revenue we can get.
This new industry shows extraordinary potential for growth, revenue and, most importantly, jobs. This has been shown to be true in other states like California and Colorado and the entire country of Canada.
The legislature left it up to us to decide. We, the voters in New Jersey, should make the decision to help by voting “yes” to the ballot question.
Brian String is the President of UFCW Local 152, the union for 13,500 workers in grocery stores and other essential businesses serving New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
UFCW Local 152 is not new to fighting on behalf of the cannabis industry up and down the Garden State.
On a national level, the United Food and Commercial Workers represent workers in both medical and recreational cannabis-related industries. UFCW Local 152 is committed to standing with cannabis workers in our area to not only create good jobs, but to also represent them so that their employers pay good wages, good benefits, and fair treatment in a safe work environment. Discover more about the Cannabis Campaign in our area and our efforts to support workers in the industry.