Sean Mack Featured in Q&A in Law.com's Higher Law Column Regarding New Jersey's New Marijuana Laws.
Sean Mack, co-chair of the Cannabis & Hemp Law practice, and co-chair of the Litigation practice, at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was featured in a Q&A with Cheryl Miller in the Higher Law column on Law.com regarding New Jersey’s recent legislation regarding marijuana.
Please see below for excerpts from the conversation.
Higher Law: What are the key takeaways from these new laws?
Mack: This is transformative legislation. It's creating a whole new, potentially multibillion-dollar industry that's going to impact every area of legal profession. Obviously, regulatory law, criminal law--real estate attorneys are going to be very busy over the coming months dealing with lease negotiations.
Employment lawyers are going to have issues whether they're working for a cannabis-involved company, or an employer who now has employees using recreational marijuana. Municipal law attorneys are going to be very busy, because New Jersey is allowing every city and town in the state to decide if they want to adopt municipal ordinances to regulate this on a local level. Family law attorneys are going to be busy as people start using this.
The other interesting dynamic here is even though it's a 250-or-so page law, the legislation still says that there's going to be a cannabis regulatory commission that's going to adopt a lot of regulations. And all those details are still to come.
What do you think about the law being so detailed? Is that a good thing?
I think the concept behind it was right. Part of the difficulty in getting this passed was the amount of details involved and everybody trying to make sure that it addressed all the different issues, rather than leaving those things to experts, experts in the industry and the regulators working those things out later on.
The one concern I have with this amount of detail in the statute is if we realize a year or two years from now that there are some problems, we have to pass a law to change it. It's often a lot easier to change some regulations, To have to keep going back to the legislature if we realize there are problems with this law may create problems down the road.
What are the timelines we should be watching going forward?
The first important date is Aug. 21, 180 days after the enactment of the law. The legislation gives the cannabis regulatory commission until then to release its initial regulations.
The other important thing about August 21 is that's also the deadline by which every city and town in New Jersey has to decide if they're going to adopt local laws imposing time-place-manner type restrictions on cannabis establishments or taking the position that they don't want cannabis establishments in their towns.
The other big date is,180 days after the initial regulations come out the law mandates that the commission authorize retail sales to begin. So if you take the first 180 days, which end on Aug. 21, and then add another 180 days, that takes you to Feb. 17. So if things go well, that's the last that's the latest date by which the law is suggesting that retail sales must begin.
For you and your colleagues, what's the biggest source of work right now?
Right now, everybody and their brother is interested in getting a license and getting involved in this space. And a lot of our time is really spent helping potential clients figure out what makes the most sense for them.
There are so many different opportunities. A certain number of people will get licenses. But then there's going to be all these other ancillary businesses. And that's, again, why I say this is a really transformative piece of legislation because it really will affect tremendous amounts of unrelated industries as well as just this new industry that's being created.
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