Stockton University Panel Reveals New Insights on Economic Benefits of Cannabis in New Jersey
Students, corporate leaders from legal industry examined the future of legal cannabis and impacts on New Jersey state economy
GALLOWAY, N.J. – Representatives from the Stockton University chapter of Students Organizing for Marijuana Research and Transparency (SMART), Weedmaps, the Compassionate Care Foundation and the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association held a public forum about the benefits of legalizing cannabis in New Jersey on Monday evening at Stockton University. The panel of experts featured a diverse array of professionals from the industry, including:
- Jenna Miscioascio, President of SMART at Stockton University
- Kelli Hykes, Director of Government Relations for Weedmaps
- Tim Weigand, Dispensary and Facilities Manager for Compassionate Care Foundation
- Kelley Crosson, Vice President of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association
- Renato Paoli, Assistant Grower for Compassionate Care Foundation
The panelists discussed prospective benefits to the state including jobs, tax revenue and increased capital investment that legal cannabis would bring.
“There are certain skills that will be beneficial in this industry. While the industry will take a while to develop in New Jersey, the opportunity and potential for growth is enormous. We have the skills ready to go in New Jersey and the state can be a real leader,” said Bridget Hill Zayat, the Stockton University Adjunct Professor who moderated the event.
Additionally, the discussion covered social justice initiatives and providing opportunities to communities most affected by the war on drugs.
“[Social justice and the war on drugs] have always been a concern, and I hope one day that cannabis is part of the conversation in that it shouldn’t be referred to as a drug – it’s a medicine, and it has the power to help many people struggling with illnesses,” said Tim Weigand, Dispensary and Facilities Manager for the Compassionate Care Foundation.
Panelists also gave insight to students interested in starting a career in the industry. To accommodate growing student interest in recent years, Stockton University became one of the first schools in the country to offer classes in cannabis studies in 2018.
“I want my fellow students to know that there are jobs in this industry for everyone. You can be an environmental science major, or you can study marketing or accounting, and contribute to the cannabis industry,” said Jenna Miscioascio, Stockton University sophomore and President of SMART. “As a hospitality major, I think there is tremendous opportunity in this industry to help revive Atlantic City as well.”
When asked what skills students should develop to be successful in the industry Kelli Hykes, Director of Government Relations for Weedmaps, encouraged activism and political engagement. “We still have to get this package of cannabis reform bills voted on and develop the rules and regulations before anyone can work in the adult use market,” Hykes said. “Call your legislators now and tell them why legalization is important. And then continue to engage with them so they can improve the laws and rules based on the advice of experts like you working in the industry.”
The Stockton Student Marijuana Alliance for Research and Transparency (SMART) is comprised of three main goals, education, research, and career development. The organization strives to educate students about Cannabis as well its components, THC and CBD, while collecting data from the university population to ideally use to power SMART research initiatives.
Weedmaps is the cloud platform powering the cannabis industry, running the full stack from application infrastructure to end user devices. Weedmaps technology hosts a community where businesses and consumers can search and discover cannabis products, become educated on all things cannabis, review cannabis businesses and connect with other like-minded users.
The New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis. Its mission is to promote sensible policy, responsible growth and development of New Jersey’s cannabis industry. The NJCIA is the industry leader for all sectors including biotechnology, cultivation, manufacturing, retail, finance, security, industrial hemp, and consulting services.
The Compassionate Care Foundation is a New Jersey dispensary run by a team of counselors and growers dedicated to cultivating a high-grade, quality medication. The Foundation strives to provide pharmaceutical cannabis to patients in a safe, comfortable, and private environment.