US (NJ): Law school launches cannabis curriculum

“For too many years, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of cannabis,” says Kimberly Mucherson, co-Dean of Rutgers Law School. On Tuesday, the New Jersey-based institution announced a six-month Certificate in Cannabis Law and Business beginning in January 2023.

News of the latest program at Rutgers Law comes a few short months after the state of New Jersey legalized adult-use cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older and began accepting applications for cannabis retail licenses through its newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commsion (CRC). With a deliberate goal of evening the playing field throughout the Garden State, the decision was made to prioritize licenses for people from designated target communities, those with cannabis convictions (expunged or not), and minorities, women, and disabled veterans.

“The licensing structure specifically creates a priority for potential licensees who come from those communities that have been so deeply impacted by the criminalization of cannabis,” Mucherson tells EBONY. “This means that there is space in this industry for many Black folks and others who can now benefit from an industry that in too many states has only benefitted those who already have significant resources.”

Mucherson sees Rutgers’ newly announced program as an extension of that mission. The non-credit program brings together faculty from across Rutgers’ many schools with industry experts and guest speakers. In a press release shared with EBONY, Rutgers describes the course as an opportunity to provide business owners with a thorough grounding in the rules and regulations of New Jersey’s cannabis industry as they pertain to every aspect of running a business, ensuring that people entering the market have the information they need to run legally compliant businesses.

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