About 70 students registered for the Union College & NJ CannaBusiness Association Career Fair & Expo on Thursday in Cranford. Not only did they get to meet some potential employers, but they also got to hear from business and industry leaders, including Commissioner Maria del Cid-Cosso from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
In a keynote address at Cranford University, del Cid-Kosso shared a childhood memory as one of the main reasons she cares so much about social equality and economic justice. None of us in the audience knew that you were speaking at roughly the same time, Mr. President Joe Biden released an executive order pardoning federal convictions for simple cannabis possession offenses.
“All too often the targets of law enforcement have been people of color. When I was in high school, I’ll never forget seeing one of my classmates before they got off the bus and got arrested for selling marijuana,” said del Cid-Kosso, who grew up in Plainfield and attended Union College. “He did this not because he was a bad person, but out of necessity. His family could not afford to pay an extra expense like that trip. I take a story with me to work every single day.”
He went on to say how pleased he is that expunging the records of people who commit cannabis-related crimes is a key part of the state’s legalization law.
In his presentation about the operation of the CRC, he mentioned that the governing body has three priority designations: social equity, ownership of certified diversity, and impact zones, adding that 80% of the 1,300 applications so far received at least one of them. three highlighted selections.
“It reflects the momentum behind us as we work to deliver the best results for the communities most in need through the cannabis market,” he said.
Social equity is at the heart of Union College’s expansion into cannabis education, said the college’s vice president for administrative services. Bernardo Polnariev.
“We’ve been focused on social justice from the beginning,” Polnariev said. “Is it vital that we think about how to transform our community? How do we support students? How do we educate them better to prepare them for work?”
Union College has had a STEM-focused herbal chemistry major for four years, he said, adding that the Union County institution also had non-credit programs related to the cannabis industry.
“Since we recognize how it grows, we wanted to position ourselves better by developing business-related programs. We want to work with people who are in this industry, like the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, who have the expertise to figure out where the areas are for students who are interested in this area — especially in this county,” he said.
Ed DeVeauxpresident of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association appeared at the event and introduced speakers, including a business keynote Nathan JanovicsFounder and CEO of Puffin; Karen Meshkovpartner at Flowerhire; Scott Rudder, founder and president of the NJCBA; and Assemblyman Jamel Holleywho represents most of Union County
“New Jersey is currently the best model in the country for social justice,” said Holley, who authored the legalization bill. “And although we haven’t gotten there yet, in terms of entrepreneurs getting a level playing field. But we have a really good framework for this industry for minorities, women and disabled veterans.”
Holley, who told the audience that his father was in the probate market when he was growing up, also pointed out the importance of having cancellations in the law.
“Almost 300,000 people were wiped out,” said Holley, who helped write the legalization laws. “It’s a big deal.”
In his inspirational speech, Yanovitch talked about how his immigrant background, business acumen and willingness to take risks helped him transition from a successful telecommunications company to a consumer weed company to state approval.
“I can list people’s successes and failures all the time,” said Yanovitch, who founded Puffin with his wife, Cindy, a Columbia-born retired health professional. “But ladies and gentlemen, the point is, for most of us, aiming high is not the biggest threat, and we can leave it at that. Aiming low and reaching. There are good people in this room. Young people in this room, find something you’re passionate about. And when you’ve found it, go for it.”
This story first appeared in NJ Cannabis Insider.
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