By the end of the month, New Jersey could become the 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use among adults. Legislators just approved a bill that could result in the development of a cannabis industry estimated to generate close to a billion dollars. With the last voting session fast approaching before a three-month break, both New Jersey lobbyists and citizen’s alike are wondering if the bill will gain the votes it needs to officially pass.
Unfortunately, the bill has drawn a lot of controversy. Both supporters and opponents lined up to testify on behalf of the bill, but were met with a six-hour delay, causing many to leave before they could be heard. After the delay, only 25 minutes of testimony was heard and the measure was passed both through the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee.
The next four days will be crucial for New Jersey lobbyists and bill backers, including Governor Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, to cobble together enough votes to successfully pass the bill. With many lawmakers stating they are still on the fence about the issue, the fate of the bill is far from certain. Along with the bill are two others that are designed to expand the state’s current medical marijuana program as well as the expunging of records for offenders convicted of marijuana charges.
Lawmakers are creating what they believe will be the gold standard of cannabis policy. It will also mark them as the first state to actually organize the reform through the legislature instead of using a ballot initiative. What is also impressive is the fact that this has occurred in less than two years. Just short of 10 years ago, they had a governor who was staunchly anti-cannabis. The bill was designed to not only address patients and adult recreational users but also concerns related to stock-holders, local government, and community needs.
Do you own a company trying to break into the possible billion dollar industry in the State of New Jersey? PSI can help. For more than 30 years, PSI has represented the interests of their clients before both the executive and legislative branches of state government. Use their experience and know-how to help successfully advocate your business’s position before those who are responsible for making it happen.
Every year, New Jersey lobbying firms send their annual reports to the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) to be publicly disclosed. The commission just released its annual analysis today. The ELEC gathers total expenditures and total receipts from lobbying efforts and their represented entities to provide oversight and ensure accountability in campaign and legislative finances. Public Strategies Impact is, once again, the second top multi-client lobbyist firm in New Jersey. PSI increased our lobbying receivables by $1.02 million (from $6.17 million to $7.18 million) and continues to prove effective for our clients. This growth has placed us even more strongly among the best lobbying firms in New Jersey. This honor only occurs because of loyal clients, friends, and hardworking and dedicated lobbyists and staff.
Overall, the total spending by lobbyists in New Jersey dropped 2.5 percent to $89.4 million. Even with the dip in spending, three sectors greatly increased their spending due to new legislation introduced by Governor Phil Murphy: offshore wind production, cannabis, and nuclear plant subsidies. Offshore wind production lobbying spending increased $613,015, cannabis lobbying spending increased $1.03 million, nuclear plant subsidy support decreased $671,114, and nuclear plant subsidy opposition increased $817,997.
As the political landscape continues to change it is important to have a New Jersey lobbyist firm with a diverse portfolio, varied connections, and experience in government positions. At PSI, we have many years of experience in not only public service but in the political arena. We have a diverse portfolio of clients who are seeing the great importance of our work as the landscape changes. As new marijuana legislation appears on the horizon and sports gambling legislation has already taken effect, there has never been more of a need for lobbyists in the Garden State.
As these changes continue to affect industry, government, and the public sector it is best to work with a New Jersey lobbyist firm with experience in all areas. Our areas of expertise include:
If you’re looking for assistance with government relations, public affairs, or association management, please reach us via email at email@example.com or via phone at (609) 393-7799.
Yesterday at 2 p.m., Governor Phil Murphy delivered his first State of the State address just one day shy of his one-year anniversary of being in the statehouse. The state assembly chamber was packed with all key members of state government, including government officials, lawmakers, lobbyists, and other New Jersey leaders.
Before taking the traditional route of looking back at 2018 and discussing goals for 2019, Murphy spent a great deal of time discussing his findings from the recent corporate tax audit. Calling New Jersey’s corporate tax incentive program broken, he said the audit’s finding were alarming and displayed a stunning lack of controls and the workings of a rigged system to work for the favored few. Then, he discussed what could have been done with the billions of dollars the state handed out to corporations, including funding public schools, funding NJ Transit, meeting pension obligations, and providing property tax relief. Moving forward, Murphy wants to implement a new corporate tax incentive program that includes a cap on handouts, clear eligibility criteria, and will focus on investing in high wage and high growth sectors. He said it will take some time, but together we can fix it.
When looking back on his first year in office, Governor Murphy said the state of the state is stronger and fairer than it was a year ago, which is an homage to his campaign slogan. He said he’s seen New Jerseyans struggle and has made, and will continue to make, a commitment to helping everyone succeed, ensuring our state’s families have better, brighter days. In the administration’s first year, they passed a total of 169 bills, which is more than any other administration in decades, and passed four dozen executive orders on job creation, environment, equal rights, and fair pay. Murphy listed off what he considered the administration’s greatest wins:
After discussing the broken tax incentives program and the successes of 2018, Governor Murphy wasted no time jumping into what he plans to accomplish in the coming year. He has ambitious goals that he promises to accomplish with the help of his administration, including:
In closing, Governor Murphy announced the administration did what they said they were going to do in their first year. He promised to make New Jersey a state of innovation where young people want to start their careers, an affordable state where seniors want to grow old, and a state with top-notch education where families want to live and grow. Murphy’s next big public speech will be the budget address in six weeks.
This year’s midterm elections were some of the most expensive and highly publicized in history. Many attribute this as a reaction to President Donald Trump’s policies throughout the first two years of his term, particularly in the areas of healthcare and immigration. So how did the elections play out in New Jersey as well as the rest of the United States? Here are breakdowns of each election, including flips, flops, and everything in between:
There were 35 races in the senate election, and at this time this article was written, 32 of them have been called. All the seats projected to go democrat, including Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia, did just that. Tennessee and Texas both remain republican. Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota flipped to republican while Nevada flipped to democrat. Overall, even without all the senate races being called, Republicans will continue to hold majority, currently sitting at 51 republicans to 46 democrats.
A total of 26 house seats flipped democrat so far, with 417 of 435 races being called. All of the districts expected to vote democrat and republican for the most part did, but there were a few surprises along the way. Oklahoma’s fifth district, which many thought would likely remain republican, flipped to democrat. The same situation happened in New York’s 11th district and South Carolina’s first district – both expected to lean republican but flipped to democrat. Even without all the elections being called, the house majority has flipped to democrat with 219 dems to 193 republicans.
There were 36 governor races in this year’s midterm elections. For the most part, everything went as expected, with the exception of Kansas, which many thought would stay red. Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, Maine, Nevada, and Wisconsin flipped from republican to democrat. However, many democrats were hoping to secure Florida and Georgia, but Florida was called red and Georgia looks like it will be the same. With 34 of 36 races being called, there are 23 democratic governors and 25 republican governors.
The blue wave definitely hit in New Jersey’s midterm elections. In the Senate vote, incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez, who was projected to win reelection, defeated Republican pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin. Menendez held nearly a 10 percent lead against Hugin, and the race was called by several news organizations less than an hour after the polls closed.
In New Jersey’s House of Representatives, the races were either huge landslides or very tight – no in between.
Whether you’re a democrat or republican, you have to be happy that regardless of how bad the weather was yesterday, New Jersey saw one of the largest turnouts for a midterm election in our state’s history. That says a lot for the future of the Garden State.
As you know, cannabis legislation in New Jersey is ever-changing. Since Governor Phil Murphy took office, he’s made cannabis a top priority, and there’s been many conversations about what exactly legislation would look like in the Garden State. But where are we now?
After many months of silence and minimal detail on New Jersey’s plan for cannabis, lawmakers presented a bill late last month. The bill calls for legalization of possession and use of a regulated amount of cannabis for people 21 or older. When the bill passes, the legalization will immediately take effect, but it’s expected to take a year for New Jersey’s cannabusiness industry to take shape.
Rather than being limited to use of marijuana at your residence only, the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey would allow use at facilities with a marijuana retail license. These businesses would need a space separate from the dispensary itself, allowing for consumption separate from their typical storefront. But it doesn’t stop there; these businesses will also offer cannabis delivery. It’s possible the cannabis businesses with retail licenses will provide so many options for cannabis users to enjoy their products because home-grown marijuana will not be legalized if the proposed bill stays as is.
On the business side, there are regulations for where and who owns licenses. There’s a mandate stating that 25 percent of licenses must be given to women, minorities, and veterans. Additionally, micro-licenses will be offered to small businesses, and the industry must have a minimum of 10 percent micro-licenses in the state. As for where, 25 percent of licenses must be given to people who have lived in an area with a high unemployment rate for a minimum of three years.
The marijuana tax in the new bill would give New Jersey the lowest marijuana tax in the country, with a fixed 10 percent tax. Many people have speculated this tax will change to be more in-tune with other states, meaning the tax may be somewhere between 15 and 25 percent.
Currently, the cannabis bill is awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s feedback. As a big supporter of legalizing cannabis, Murphy said he’s looking for cannabis legislation in New Jersey that expands the medical marijuana program, closes the racial gap of people jailed for marijuana possession, and removes criminal records for those arrested for cannabis-related offenses that would be legal with the new bill.
Last week, Senate President Steve Sweeney announced October 29 is his goal for bringing the cannabis bill to a vote in the Assembly and Senate. Until then, we can expect to hear a little more about the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey, such as tweaks requested by the Governor. But all eyes will be on the vote when the end of October hits.
Interested in breaking into New Jersey’s cannabis industry? We have formed a strategic alliance with law firm Brach Eichler to help people break into this exciting new business in the Garden State. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
On Wednesday, October 24, Public Strategies Impact’s Bill Maer, senior partner, will discuss the New Jersey cannabis application process at NJ Cannabis Media’s inaugural New Jersey Cannabis Summit. The event, held at the Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, is an all-day conference focusing on how businesses can capitalize on the cannabis market and the complexities related to emerging legislation and regulation.
Maer will speak on a panel from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. called “The Application Process.” Moderated by George L. Garcia, partner at Connell Foley, Maer and fellow panel members will discuss how to prepare for the next round of medical cannabis licenses, how adult-use licenses will be different, real estate and site control, and tips for navigating the New Jersey cannabis application process. He will be joined by Bert Steinman, Ewing Township mayor; Tara Sargente, CEO and founder of Blazin’ Bakery; and Charles Latini, principal at Latini & Geleitz Planning.
Other summit topics include “Establishing a Legal and Compliant Cannabis Business,” “Access to Capital: Funding Options for your Cannabis Business,” and “Opportunities and Obstacles in Running a Dispensary, Manufacturing, and Growing.” In total, there will be more than 15 speakers, each with a different background and connection to the cannabis industry.
Tickets to the event are $95 and include access to all speakers and panels, a continental breakfast, networking opportunities, and lunch. You can register for the event and view the list of speakers here. If you’d like to learn more about PSI’s cannabis expert Bill Maer, you can read his bio here.
Brach Eichler, LLC, one of New Jersey’s leading law firms, and Public Strategies Impact, LLC, one of New Jersey’s leading lobbying firms, have formed a strategic alliance to help businesses participate in New Jersey’s emerging cannabis marketplace. “Strategic Cannabis Solutions” will form exclusive relationships with clients in order to advise, position, and advocate for them to successfully obtain state-required cannabis licenses.
According to John D. Fanburg, Managing Member and Cannabis Law Practice Co-Chair, “The alliance of Brach Eichler and Public Strategies Impact will enable clients to strategically address both the legal complexities of cannabis opportunities and in close collaboration with Public Strategies Impact, enable clients to position their license application for success.”
Public Strategies Impact Managing Partner Roger A. Bodman added, “In light of the complicated and heavily regulated nature of New Jersey’s cannabis marketplace, Strategic Cannabis Solutions brings a forceful multidisciplinary team of experts to the table. When the dust settles on all of the cannabis rules and regulations, we will advocate at every level of government to ensure our clients succeed in a highly competitive environment.”
Brach Eichler was one of the first law firms in New Jersey to form a dedicated cannabis law practice. Co-Chair of the practice Charles X. Gormally notes, “New Jersey’s cannabis marketplace is a new and emerging business opportunity and by forming Strategic Cannabis Solutions we draw upon PSI government affairs expertise and our legal expertise to help our clients capitalize in an evolving and complex market.”
“We are thrilled to partner with PSI as we have witnessed firsthand their effectiveness on behalf of a number of our mutual clients,” added Fanburg. “Brach Eichler’s industry-leading health law practice is uniquely positioned to co-lead this effort, particularly in light of the Department of Health’s role in the medical cannabis space,” notes Bodman.
On or around June 18, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Health is expected to propose new regulations within the Medical Marijuana Program.
Brach Eichler issued a seminal white paper last fall when it launched its cannabis law practice—The Business, Regulatory and Legal Challenges—and Opportunity—of Legalized Cannabis in New Jersey—that discusses the hurdles New Jersey faces as it moves toward a regulated, adult-use marketplace compared to states with existing programs.
About Public Strategies Impact
Public Strategies Impact is a leading government relations, public affairs and association management firm based in Trenton, New Jersey. Since 1986, the firm has developed sound, principled and bipartisan legislative advocacy strategies for clients from a wide-range of industry sectors, many of them specifically unique to New Jersey. Direct involvement in these sectors has led to an unparalleled expertise that is extremely valuable to ensuring client success. As the firm has grown, Public Strategies Impact has cultivated an impressive team of highly qualified professionals, each with specialized knowledge in specific sectors. PSI has an unmatched knowledge of the key lawmakers and legislative process to best serve each client’s interests in the New Jersey Statehouse. For more information, please visit www.njpsi.com.
About Brach Eichler Cannabis Law
Brach Eichler, a full-service law firm based in Roseland, N.J., is uniquely situated to provide advice and guidance across a wide range of business groups that may be interested in diversifying into the emerging cannabusiness market opportunity. Over the past 50 years, the Firm’s practitioners have built trusted, personal relationships with their clients, rendering advice that is business-savvy and creative, yet practical. The firm’s attorneys are thought leaders in their industries, known for “getting the deal done” with their clients’ interests well represented and always top of mind. These qualities will be especially useful as New Jersey moves forward to develop a cannabis marketplace. This type of opportunity, while not for the faint of heart, will be advantaged by the strength of Brach Eichler’s resident health, corporate formation, regulatory, compliance, land use, employment, tax, and real estate capabilities.
Click here to read Brach Eichler’s most recent White Paper, “Ten Steps to a Billion-Dollar Marketplace: Facts, Observations, and Market Opportunity.
Government relations, while similar to public affairs, does have its differences. Rather than focusing on multiple audiences, government relations focuses entirely on influencing public and government policy on a local, state, regional, national, or global scale. That means getting in front of the key government officials and decision makers to influence their decision on a particular piece of policy.
The most commonly used government relations tactics include advocacy, lobbying, and identifying allies in other organizations or government officials. By getting in front of the leaders across the state or national level, government relations experts are able to educate them on a particular issue or piece of legislation to find common ground and a satisfying resolution. Businesses frequently hire government relations firms to protect their industry from changes to certain legislation, protecting their rights and the way they operate.
With decades of experience operating in Trenton as a lobbying firm, we have developed very strong relationships with the key players in state government. We couple these extensive relationships with a deep immersion into our clients and their issues. This allows us to fully understand the client goals and objectives and create unique, effective strategies. We specialize in several areas of government relations, including:
If you or your company could benefit from government relations services by a Trenton lobbying firm, we’d love to discuss the possibilities with you. Please reach out to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 609-393-7799.
Sometimes considered a crossbreed between public relations and lobbying, public affairs is a culmination of all the management and tactics required to ensure a positive image with the media, community, and policymakers. It’s all about relationship development, controlling public policy and how the public views your company or project. Most of the time, public affairs services are utilized by large companies or charities, trade unions, membership-based organizations, or interest groups. However, occasionally smaller businesses will seek public affairs services on a project, rather than retainer, basis.
Unless you have an internal communications team, thinking about how policymakers, stakeholders, communities, media, or other groups perceive your company or project isn’t usually top-of-mind. However, managing your reputation is a crucial part of your overall success. When you hire a public affairs firm, you have all the resources and political connections you need to ensure a positive reputation and sway public policy. Some organizations hire public affairs firms for situational issues, and others hire firms on an ongoing retainer – the length of time you need these services ultimately depends on your needs. Regardless, having a team of individuals who are experts at the ins and outs of government to handle your lobbying efforts, public and community relations, crisis management, and project management puts you a step ahead of other companies.
PSI offers public affairs in New Jersey and has experience in a wide-range of different industries. Rather than doing a one-size-fits-all-approach, we customize our services to meet the specific needs of your company. Some of the most commonly utilized services include:
If you are looking for public affairs in New Jersey, we’d love to discuss your needs more in-depth. Please reach out to us via email at email@example.com or call 609-393-7799.
Trying to find government relations or public affairs services in New Jersey can be a challenge. Do you seek a firm located near you for convenience, or do you work with a firm strategically located? Whether you are a New Jersey based business or a larger company with a location in New Jersey, there are a lot of benefits to working with a Trenton lobbying firm over a firm located somewhere else in the state. These benefits include:
If you are looking for government relations or public affairs services from a Trenton lobbying firm, we’d love to work with you. Please contact us via our website or by calling 609-393-7799.