New Jersey picks Black male for cannabis panel after NAACP pushback


New Jersey’s commission to regulate recreational marijuana received its first Black male member after the NAACP raised concerns about the panel’s makeup.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday appointed Charles Barker, who is Black, to the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, according to the Associated Press.

Barker is a staffer for U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and member of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.

The nomination came after it was pointed out that the five-member board lacked a Black man.

Murphy signed a state law last month that required at least one member of the board to come from a national or state branch of a national organization with a mission of studying, advocating or adjudicating against historical oppression of minorities.

With Barker in, William Wallace is out as a commissioner and shifts to a staff role for the panel.

Barker, a lawyer by training, has been a constituent advocate working for Booker since 2017. He managed several policy areas, including criminal justice reform.

Dianna Houenou, a Black woman, previously was chosen to chair the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Other members are Maria Del Cid, Sam Delgado and Krista Nash.


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