Recent Articles

Cannibis – An Update on the State Timetable for Applications; for Highland Park, with Sales Only Permitted, Applications Start on March 15

This article was published in NJSpotlight, Saturday, November 20, 2021https://www.njspotlightnews.org/2021/11/

It has been over a year since New Jerseyans voted to amend the constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. 

But for many prospective cannabis retailers, their first sales are still a ways away with only the next phase of the process, setting up who and how they can sell marijuana, scheduled to begin in December. 

 During a recent public meeting, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) announced that they will begin accepting applications for cultivator and manufacturer cannabis licenses as early as Dec. 15. They plan to start accepting applications for retailer licenses by March 15. 

The initial law passed as a ballot question in the 2020 election cycle and authorized the expansion of the state’s current medicinal cannabis program. It also opened the door for the expungement of about 360,000 cases of marijuana-related offenses. Those cases were all considered low level and involved the cancellation of fines and penalties for folks caught possessing and selling small amounts of marijuana. 

As a prime sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Jamel Holley advocated for the social justice policies that shape much of the law. Holley said the goal is to give marginalized individuals who have been wrongly criminalized by past regulations not only a second chance at life, but also the opportunity to open their own businesses.  

“A minimum of 20% of licenses will go to minorities, women and disabled veterans,” he said, continuing, “70% of sales tax will go back to communities in need in order to repair the harm caused by the so-called war on drugs.” 

Holley also noted efforts to remove the stigma associated with minor drug offenses. “If you have been convicted of a marijuana charge in the past, you are still eligible to apply for a cannabis business license,” he said.  

However, Holley agreed that the legalization process has taken quite a long time. “The CRC are doing their due diligence, but the green light is long overdue,” he said.  

 Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, argued that the last several months have been pivotal to the establishment of the recreational market. Now that there is a more substantial timeline, DeVeaux’s organization is concerned with ensuring that prospective applicants have the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed. When it comes to how minorities and other marginalized groups will make their way in the cannabis industry, DeVeaux is cautiously optimistic.  “I say that because many people that have expressed an interest in being an applicant will be establishing businesses for the first time,” he said.  

 For many of those who were initially denied a license or struggled during the medicinal application process, DeVeaux reinforced the importance of reapplying.  

“The beauty of New Jersey’s cannabis market is that there is a second chance,” DeVeaux said. “We absolutely encourage, especially minority applicants, to come back and take part in the new and improved licensing process.” 

In October, the NJCRC approved 14 of the 2,019 medical cannabis business applications that had been previously held up due to a court-ordered stay of the review process. These businesses could eventually grow and sell recreational marijuana to the public, but first they must have enough supply to meet medicinal and recreational needs, pay fees to the state and sell in the medical market for at least one year. 

According to NJCRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou, this could pose an issue for medicinal businesses looking to transition to the adult-use market. 

“The current alternative treatment centers have not kept pace with patient need,” she said. “We constantly hear from patients that prices are too high and that there are too few dispensaries with too few product options. READ MORE

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RU Professors Were Among the Winners in the Latest National Book Critics Circle Awards

The National Book Critics Circle Awards  for 2020 were announced late last week, with awards for literature published in the U.S. in six categories (criticism, fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, biography and poetry) as well as three annual prizes. The winners in the main categories included two Rutgers University professors. Nicole Fleetwood, a professor of American studies and art history in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick won in the criticism category for “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” and poet Cathy Park Hong, a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Rutgers-Newark won in the autobiography category for her memoir, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning.”

Fleetwood’s book, based on interviews with incarcerated people and their families, prison staff, activists and other observers, explores the importance of people in prison creating art as a means to survive incarceration. In her acceptance speech given during a virtual ceremony on March 25, Fleetwood talked about her cousins who had been incarcerated and had shared their stories and experiences with her. “There has never been a time in my life when prison didn’t hover as a real and present threat over us,” she wrote in “Marking Time.” Justin Rosier, chair of the criticism committee, described her book as “a blistering critique of the penal system and ultimately a testament to human flourishing in spite of it.’’

Hong said she started writing her memoir when she was pregnant because she wanted a better world for her daughter. READ MORE

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HP’s Human Relations Commission Responds to the Recent Spate of Anti-Semitic Events

The following is an open letter to the community from the members of the Highland Park Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission is outraged, angry and saddened by the spate of anti-Semitic events that have happened in New York City and in New Jersey, including right here in Highland Park. It is essential for us to identify t he origins of this rising hatred and to address it deliberately. The Human Relations Commission welcomes the opportunity to work with the members of our community and with our elected officials on the local, county, and state level in order to make sure that hate truly has no home here. As a community, we have a moral obligation to learn fro one another and to understand one another through policy programming, education, and compassion

We all must act from a position of hope to empower and engage our neighbor so we never live in fear. We refuse to live in fear. READ MORE

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Two Juveniles Charged with Acts of Criminal Mischief in HP

Middlesex County Acting Prosecutor Christopher Kuberiet and Chief Richard Abrams of the Highland Park Police Department announced that two juveniles have been charged with criminal mischief regarding acts of graffiti in Highland Park. The juveniles, whose names will not be released due to their age, have been charged with acts of criminal mischief for the incidents that were reported on Saturday, December 28, 2019 at approximately 11:30pm when multiple areas near South First Avenue, Johnson Street and Cedar Ave were spray painted. Due to the close proximity to the Congregation Ahavas Achim and recent tragic events throughout the country, a joint investigation was conducted by Detectives from the Highland Park Police Department, Middlesex County Prosecutors Office and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Upon further investigation it was determined that these acts were not perpetrated with bias intent. On Monday, December 30, 2019, Detectives from Highland Park Police Department took a female juvenile into custody and charged her with four counts of criminal mischief. READ MORE

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HP Police Department Went on a Special Assignment – Bringing Joy to Children

Highland Park Police Officers last week played the role of Santa for
children at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick. They made a toy
delivery and also offered hugs to the children – and got hugs and big smiles in
return. These toys were purchased by the Officers, Dispatchers, and
Administrative Staff. Highland Park Police Department officers and staff were so pleased that they
could deliver Christmas cheer early – and receive such joy in return. READ MORE

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Rutgers Professor Sheds New Light on Some of the Oldest Holiday Traditions

Did you know yuletide caroling began 1,000 years before Christmas existed? Or how about the fact that mistletoe was used to represent immortality long before the holiday reached Europe? And before there was eggnog, the medieval English drank wassail made from mulled ale. Maria Kennedy, an instructor of folklore at Rutgers University–New Brunswick’s Department of American Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences, has researched the European holiday traditions that predate – and became an inseparable part of – Christmas. —What is the origin of Christmas caroling? READ MORE

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Greg Schiano Returns as RU Head Football Coach – NJ native led Scarlet Knights to six bowl appearances

Greg Schiano, who led Rutgers to new heights from 2001-11, returns as the head football coach “On the Banks.” Schiano’s appointment as head coach comes following the Rutgers Board of Governors’ approval today of contract terms.

The Wyckoff, New Jersey, native directed the Scarlet Knights to six bowl appearances, coached 83 RU players who signed NFL contracts and guided the program to the top APR score in the nation during his previous 11 seasons in Piscataway. He was named the 2006 National Coach of the Year. Schiano, who has three nine-win campaigns and coached 16 Rutgers All-America selections, holds a 68-67 record as the Rutgers head coach, including a 56-33 mark in his last seven seasons. The 68 wins are fourth in school history, behind Frank Burns (78), Harvey Harman (74) and John Bateman (73). “Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family,” said Schiano.”I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. READ MORE

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Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers Is Certified Sensory Inclusive

KultureCity has partnered with the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University to make all of the programs and events that the museum organizes to be sensory inclusive. This new initiative promotes an accommodating and positive experience for all guests with a sensory issue who visit the Zimmerli. The certification process, coordinated by curator of education Amanda Potter, entailed the staff at the Zimmerli being trained by leading medical professionals on how to recognize those visitors with sensory needs and how to handle a sensory overload situation. Sensory bags, equipped with noise canceling headphones (provided by Puro Sound Labs), fidget tools, verbal cue cards (produced in conjunction with Boardmaker), and weighted lap pads also are available to all guests at the Zimmerli who may feel overwhelmed by the environment. Sensory sensitivities or challenges with sensory regulation are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD, and other similar conditions. READ MORE

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Celebrate and Support the Highland Park Retail Community – and Bring Joy to Everyone

Don’t Miss the Fun! Small Business Weekend in Highland Park
Saturday Nov 30 & Sunday Dec 1

Follow our Small Business page — Highland Park’s business deals, discounts, and events will be posted on our page! HOLIDAY ARTISAN MARKET
Saturday 11/30, 12 pm – 7 pm & Sunday 12/1, 12 pm – 4 pm
212 Raritan Ave
Vendors, live music, photos with Santa, caroling, food trucks, and a gingerbread house contest

Saturday 11/30, 6 pm – 7 pm
212 Raritan Ave
Live music, caroling, hot chocolate…and Santa on the Highland Park fire truck! FREE MOVIE: STAR WARS
Saturday 11/30, 8 pm
Inside Pino’s, 4 North 4th Ave
The Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater is delighted to present the original theatrical release of STAR WARS! CENTRAL JERSEY POP-UP FLEA MARKET
Saturday 11/30, 10 am – 7 pm & Sunday 12/1, 10 am – 4 pm
431 Raritan Ave
Vendors, food trucks, and live music

Roving caroling courtesy of the Highland Park Community Chorus on Saturday & roving troubadour Dennis MC DoNoUgh! READ MORE

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