The New Jersey Legislative Latino Caucus has recommended five candidates for a seat on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, including former Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo (D-South Orange).
A letter to Gov. Phil Murphy comes one day after Democrats named a panel to draw new legislative districts that had no Latino voting members.
“I’ve forwarded five resumes of Latinos to the governor, both male and female, for his consideration,” State Sen. Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon), the caucus chair, told the New Jersey Globe.
In addition to Caraballo, the list of potential commission members includes: Milagros Camacho, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor; Carmen Mendiola, the deputy Hudson County Counsel; Camden County Freeholder Carmen G. Rodriguez; and Jessica F. Gonzalez, the general counsel for Minorities for Medical Marijuana and a board member of QA Canna, a New Jersey-based cannabis quality insurance company.
Caraballo, a longtime Seton Hall Law School professor, served in the legislature from 1996 to 2008 and served in Gov. Jim Florio’s cabinet as Public Advocate from 1990 to 1992.
His 12-year service as a legislator ended after an internal battle with the Newark North Ward political machine. Caraballo lost his seat to Grace Spencer (D-Newark) and Albert Coutinho (D-Newark) by a more than 2-1 margin.
New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the November 3 general election.
Murphy named one of his assistant counsels, Dianna Houenou, to lead the fledgling regulatory commission earlier this month.
Houenou, a former American Civil Liberties Union staff lawyer, will head a five-member commission that will provide oversight to the sale of marijuana in New Jersey.
Murphy gets three appointments to the panel, with one each going to the Senate President and Assembly Speaker.
Senate President Steve Sweeney has designated Krista Nash as is choice. A social justice advocate, Nash is the wife of Camden County Freeholder Jeff Nash.
Murphy also tapped Jeff Brown, the Assistant Commissioner of Health, as the executive director.