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Ray Cantor – VP, Government Affairs

In testimony before two legislative committees today on bills to create and regulate a legal marijuana marketplace, NJBIA asked lawmakers for amendments clarifying that businesses can continue enforcing their drug and alcohol workplace safety standards.

New Jersey voters approved the full legalization of marijuana by referendum, effective Jan. 1, but it is up to the Legislature to pass legislation to carry out that directive and create the regulatory framework under which adults may cultivate, sell and use marijuana. Medicinal marijuana available only by prescription has been legal in New Jersey since 2010.

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Ray Cantor told the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee that A-21, the 216-page “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act,” needed two clarifying amendments related to workplace drug policies.

“While the bill allows employers to consider an employee’s use of cannabis only if they have a ‘rational basis’ related to the workplace, we want to ensure that maintaining a drug-free workplace is considered a ‘rational basis,’” Cantor said.

NJBIA asked for a second amendment that would exempt critical infrastructure employers from any limitations on prohibiting cannabis use by their employees.

“These facilities, such as nuclear power plants, chemical plants, and refineries, have a significant need to ensure workplace and public safety by ensuring drugfree workplaces,” Cantor said.

NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz made the same points in his testimony on an identical Senate bill, S-21, which was before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Assembly bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20) and the Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22).  More than 50 people testified on the legislation at the two committee hearings and lawmakers said amendments would be incorporated at a later date.

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