Overview

“[E]liminating criminal penalties for personal drug use and possession is an essential feature of a public health response to drugs and drug misuse, and APHA calls on state and federal governments to remove such criminal penalties... [J]urisdictions that have legalized medical marijuana, decriminalized possession of marijuana and/or other drugs, or tolerated limited, retail sales...have not experienced significant, if any, increases in marijuana or other drug use.” American Public Health Association - Oldest and Most Diverse Organization of Public Health Professionals in the World APHA Policy Statement 201312

Medical cannabis is now widely accepted as a proven treatment for pain management, and adult recreational use legalization is trending across the country. The strides made to support legitimate uses of cannabis are evident daily, but the prohibitions of the past still linger. New Jersey is among many progressive states to develop a cannabis patient program, known as the Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (CUMCA). CUMCA has strengthened some patient protections, especially in the area of employment law.

Despite these advances, cannabis users continue to face discrimination in employment, parental rights, housing, and economic or educational opportunity. These social justice issues have a disproportionate effect on communities of color and marginalized populations.

The Stein Public Interest Center is marshaling its experience and energy to mitigate the damage of prior policies and perceptions, and is working to establish fair, ethical practices and processes in this area. Through litigation, appellate advocacy, and partnerships with coalitions, we aim to avoid unnecessary incarcerations, remove the stigma and deficits of prior convictions, ensure patients have clean and affordable cannabis medicine in the forms and strengths they need, and advocate for fairness in licensing for all aspects of both the medical and adult-use markets.

We also support nonprofit-led education for lawyers and healthcare professionals about the crucial intersection of cannabis medicine and policy.

Experience

Representative Matters

  • 2023

    Amicus brief in N.J. Supreme Court addressing whether the odor of marijuana in a vehicle authorizes a search of the engine compartment and trunk under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement.

  • 2023

    Amicus brief in N.J. Supreme Court addressing the appropriate standard to evaluate the admissibility of expert evidence under N.J.R.E. 702, generally, and whether the testimony of a trained Drug Recognition Expert can be relied on in court.

  • 2023

    Amicus brief in N.J. Supreme Court addressing whether a person with a prior conditional discharge for a marijuana offense is eligible for the Pre-Trial Intervention program in light of the fact that the new Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement, Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act automatically expunged low-level marijuana convictions.

  • 2021

    In an important victory for the rights of medical marijuana patients, on April 13, 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed an Appellate Division ruling, holding that a workers' compensation judge may order employers in the State of New Jersey to reimburse injured employees for the cost of medical marijuana.

  • 2020

    Amicus brief arguing that the Law Against Discrimination protects medical marijuana patients.

News & Insights

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