New Jersey Awards $5.2 Million In Marijuana Revenue To Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs

New Jersey’s governor and attorney general have announced the recipients of $5.2 million in hospital-based violence-intervention grants funded with revenue from state-legal marijuana.

The two politicians said Friday that money for the New Jersey Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program (NJHVIP) will be distributed to 11 recipients in 10 counties.

“Meeting survivors of violence where they are during such a critical time of their healing journey is essential to their well-being,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a statement. “The New Jersey Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program is a crucial resource to address both the mental and physical ramifications of violence in our communities, providing a light at the end of the tunnel when it is needed most.”

The program, originally launched in 2020 with federal funds, is now funded through the state’s Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Fund. The fund, which was established through the state’s marijuana legalization law, consists of monies from taxes on legal sales, industry fees and civil penalties.

All told, the program has spent nearly $45 million in federal and state funding on the hospital-based programs.

NJHVIP operations, according to a press release from the state attorney general’s office, involve connecting victims of violence “to a multidisciplinary team of trauma-informed, survivor-centered service providers to facilitate recovery and reduce the long-term impact of victimization while reducing the likelihood of retaliation”:

“These teams are composed of medical and community providers such as clinicians, social workers, case managers, violence interventionists, and community health workers, all of whom coordinate the provision of a comprehensive range of services for victims and their families. Victims are able to leave their treating hospitals already engaged in services, which range from crisis intervention, conflict mediation, and peer support to applying for resources from VIVA’s Victim of Crime Compensation Office and getting connected to mental health and substance use interventions.”

“Our innovative hospital-based intervention programming has shown the benefits of interrupting cycles of violence at the hospital bedside,” Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said in the release.

The primary recipients of the 11 newly announced cannabis-funded awards are:

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic County
Center for Family Services, Camden County
Inspira Health Network, Cumberland County
Foundation for University Hospital, Essex County
Newark Community Street Team, Essex County
Jersey City Medical Center, Hudson County
Capital Health System, Mercer County
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Middlesex County
HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Monmouth County
St. Joseph’s University Medical Center, Passaic County
Trinitas Regional Medical Center, Union County

The announcement comes less than a week after Platkin and Murphy unveiled the recipients of a $15 million grant funding round for a separate marijuana-funded violence intervention initiative, known as the Community-Based Violence Intervention (CBVI) program.

Of that money, a third—$5 million—came from the state cannabis fund.

With that $15 million injection, the state’s support for CBVI program now totals $40 million since 2021.

State guidelines around CBVI say a minimum of $5 million from the state cannabis fund must support the program. Some of that money is from the state’s Cannabis Impact Zone Funds, which focus on addressing the disproportionate impacts of the drug war.

Eligibility for those funds is contingent on applicants operating in so-called impact zones, defined by measures such as high rates of criminal convictions for marijuana activity, disproportionate law enforcement activity and high rates of unemployment.

New Jersey is among a several other states with legal cannabis that route at least some portion of revenue toward community reinvestment.

Missouri recently announced nearly $17 million in marijuana-related revenue would be spent on veterans health, drug treatment and legal aid.

In August, California announced it was opening applications for $48 million in marijuana tax-funded community reinvestment grants, which support job placement, legal assistance, treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, referrals to medical care and other services for communities that have been disproportionately affected by the drug war. That program, which awards grants of up to $3 million, is funded exclusively through state cannabis revenue.

Months earlier, California regulators at the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) announced the award of $4.1 million to 18 local governments through a first-of-its-kind program to support cannabis business licensing programs and curb the illicit market.

DCC also recently awarded nearly $20 million in research grants, funded by marijuana tax revenue, to 16 academic institutions to carry out studies into cannabis—including novel cannabinoids like delta-8 THC and the genetics of the state’s numerous “legacy” strains. And in February, California officials announced the award of $15 million in grants to support local efforts to promote equity in the marijuana industry.

Meanwhile, Illinois paid out $45 million in grants last year under its Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (R3) program, which was established under the state’s adult-use cannabis legalization law. Funds went to 148 programs run by organizations operating on relatively small budgets in communities designated as socioeconomically disadvantaged.

Arizona sets aside 10 percent of marijuana tax revenue for a justice redevelopment fund, which funds public health services, counseling, job training and other social services for communities that have been adversely affected by marijuana arrests and criminalization. Applications for the state’s first round of grants under that program became available in March.

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