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NJ Lawmakers Want to Keep Police and First Responders from Using Cannabis, Legal Marijuana Sales Have Outpaced Starbucks, and Legislators in Connecticut Take Steps to Restrict Cannabis Advertising

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NJ Lawmakers Want to Keep Police and First Responders from Using Cannabis

Last month, a memo from New Jersey’s attorney general’s office clarified that law enforcement would be permitted to use cannabis while not on duty. Since then, three separate bills have been filed that seek to give employers more freedom to impose restrictions on cannabis use for their employees. One measure, sponsored by Democratic Representative Loius Greenwald would amend state statute and allow law enforcement agencies to perform random drug tests and punish officers for legal off-duty cannabis use, as well as refuse to hire applicants who legally consume marijuana. While this specific bill targets law enforcement, two additional measures have been introduced that would create similar employment restrictions for lawful cannabis use.

Legal Marijuana Sales Have Outpaced Starbucks

According to the 2022 MJBiz Factbook, legal cannabis sales eclipsed the sales of coffee behemoth Starbucks in 2021. While this may not seem like that big of a deal, it is important to note that Starbucks sells coffee in all 50 states, while marijuana is only legally sold in some form in 39 states and Washington, DC. Legal cannabis outsold Starbucks by at least one-third last year and saw sales grow by about 30 percent. By comparison, Starbucks saw a revenue increase of 25 percent. The increase is likely not all from medical marijuana, and one theory for the growth is that many individuals were more likely to embrace cannabis use due to the pandemic. 

Legislators in Connecticut Take Steps to Restrict Cannabis Advertising

Lawmakers in Connecticut want to impose stricter regulations on cannabis advertising. Of particular concern is advertising near the border, and lawmakers want to ban any billboard advertising on the Massachusetts border. While the state already has regulations concerning cannabis advertising in place that were enacted when the state legalized the plant, this bill would create additional rules. For instance, only those with a marijuana-related license could advertise cannabis or cannabis-related services. The legislation would also ban any cannabis-related advertising within 1,500 yards of a school or church and prohibit the image of the plant from being used in any ads. The legislation passed the House of Representatives and is currently awaiting action by the state Senate.