Governor Phil Murphy has appointed Charles Barker—an aide to Senator Cory Booker—to the state’s Hashish Regulatory Fee, which shall be charged with licensing growers and retailers for New Jersey’s incipient leisure marijuana trade.
Barker’s appointment comes after the governor’s preliminary alternatives to the five-person panel had been criticized by social and racial justice advocates for missing a Black male member, after Murphy campaigned on marijuana legalization as a social justice concern that will finish the disproportionately excessive proportion of arrests of Black and brown males. The NAACP New Jersey State Convention additionally threatened to sue the governor as a result of the fee lacked a member of a nationwide group with a acknowledged mission of opposing inequality, as required by the regulation that established the panel.
Barker is an legal professional who has labored for Booker’s workplace since 2017, the place he managed a number of coverage areas, together with legal justice reform and hashish. He’s additionally a consultant of the Nationwide Motion Community, the civil rights group based by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
To make room for Barker, Murphy will take away William Wallace, a white labor chief, and make him the director of labor relations for the fee. Now, the group can have a Latina girl, a Latino man, a white girl, a Black man, and a Black girl, Dianna Houenou, a former ACLU legal professional who’s the fee’s chair.
“For generations, the misguided conflict on medicine has devastated whole households and communities,” Barker mentioned in an announcement launched by the governor’s workplace. “I do know this expertise first-hand from being unjustly profiled and pulled over, illegally searched, and scolded many occasions by the police merely for the colour of my pores and skin. That is very actual for me.”
The appointment was endorsed by NAACP New Jersey State Convention president Richard T. Smith, who was quoted within the governor’s assertion saying “I’m sincerely upset that the NAACP needed to go to such lengths to make sure that the Marijuana Legalization Legislation was adopted and that this fee was reflective of the communities most harmed by this failed conflict on medicine.” Nonetheless, Smith mentioned Barker “actually understands the significance of this fee and his pivotal function to make sure the regulation is carried out appropriately.”
Barker’s new function was additionally heralded by Salvation and Social Justice founding director Rev. Dr. Charles F. Boyer, one of the crucial distinguished critics of the panel’s preliminary make-up, who mentioned “[Barker] is an excellent younger man from our neighborhood, who understands how prohibition focused us. I’m assured Charles will deliver related perception and a powerful work ethic for fairness.”