New Jersey Story Archive

New Jersey and Ohio Are the Latest States to Ban Tiktok on Government Devices

Jan. 13, 2023 — New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced on Monday that the state issued a cybersecurity directive to prohibit the use of high-risk software and services, including TikTok, on government-owned devices. In addition to banning TikTok from state devices, Murphy said the state was also banning products and services from numerous other vendors, including Huawei, Hikvision, Tencent, and ZTE.

On the same day, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order banning on government-owned devices the use of any application owned by an entity located in China. DeWine said in the order that “these surreptitious data privacy and cybersecurity practices pose national and local security and cybersecurity threats to users of these applications and platforms and the devices storing the applications and platforms.” Read more

New Jersey Issues Guidance on Workplace Impairment of Marijuana Users

On September 9, 2022, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) issued “Guidance on Workplace Impairment” that stated “an employee shall not be subject to any adverse action by an employer solely due to the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the employee’s bodily fluid” found during a marijuana drug test.

Since a failed marijuana drug test alone is insufficient to support an adverse action, “such a test combined with evidence-based documentation of physical signs or other evidence of impairment during an employee’s prescribed work hours may be sufficient to support an adverse employment action,” the guidance states.

Because marijuana can remain in users for a long period of time and there is no perfect test for detecting present impairment, employers should “establish evidence-based protocols for documenting observed behavior and physical signs of impairment to develop reasonable suspicion, and then to utilize a drug test.”

In order to demonstrate physical signs sufficient to support an adverse employment action against an employee for suspected marijuana use or impairment during work hours, employers can designate an interim staff member to assist with making determinations of suspected marijuana use during an employee’s prescribed work.

This person should be sufficiently trained to determine impairment and qualified to complete a “Reasonable Suspicion Observation Report” documenting the behavior, physical signs, and evidence that support the employer’s determination that an employee is reasonably suspected of being under the influence during work.

Employers still have the right to maintain a drug free workplace consistent and may require an employee to undergo a drug test upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s use of marijuana while at work, finding any observable signs of impairment related to the use of marijuana, or following a work-related accident.

The NJ-CRC guidance is a first step towards formulating and approving standards for “Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert (WIRE)” certifications to be issued to employees or contractors to perform services based on education and training in detecting and identifying an employee’s usage of, or impairment from, marijuana.

“Striking a balance between workplace safety and work performance and adult employees’ right to privacy and to consume cannabis during their off hours is possible,” NJ-CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown stated in a news release about the guidance. “We have been doing that with alcohol without thought.”

Since recreational marijuana was legalized in New Jersey in 2021, some employers in the state have expressed frustration over delays in the creation of WIREs to help determine if an employee is impaired on the job since a person can test positive for marijuana for an extended period of time after the effects have consumption.

According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), six states – Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Montana, and Rhode Island – have laws that protect the use of recreational marijuana by workers and 21 states have laws protecting workers who use medical marijuana.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is a service offering of ClearStar, a leading Human Resources technology company specializing in background, drug, clinical, and occupational health testing. ClearStar offers drug and clinical testing that is fully integrated with major laboratories.


New Jersey Opens 13 Cannabis Dispensaries for Recreational Use

Courtesy of Dave Kovaleski, Financial Regulation News

June 2022 – The State of New Jersey joins the ranks of states that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Starting April 21, New Jersey residents and visitors to the state who are 21 years and older can purchase recreational cannabis and cannabis products at 13 dispensaries across New Jersey. The 13 dispensaries have been open, serving patients in the stateʻs Medicinal Cannabis Program. But now, they will open their doors to the broader public.

“We expect 13 locations for the entire state will make for extremely busy stores,” Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, said. “The dispensaries have assured us that they are ready to meet the demand without disrupting patient access and with minimal impact on the surrounding communities, but patience will be key to a good opening day.”

The 13 dispensaries are Apothecarium in both Maplewood and Phillipsburg; Ascend Wellness in Rochelle Park; RISE in both Bloomfield and Paterson; Zen Leaf in both Elizabeth and Lawrence Township; The Botanist in both Egg Harbor Township and Williamstown; The Cannabist/Columbia Care in both Deptford and Vineland; and Curaleaf in both Bellmawr and Edgewater Park.

Recreational cannabis customers will be able to buy up to 1 ounce of dried flower; up to 5 grams of concentrates, resins, or oils; or 10 100mg packages of ingestible items in a single transaction. “We encourage everyone to be safe – buy only from licensed dispensaries and start low and go slow. Remember that the laws against impaired driving apply to being high,” Brown said. “Our guests from neighboring states should remember it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines.”

The dispensaries are required to put policies in place so that registrants in New Jersey’s Medicinal Cannabis Program do not have to wait in long lines or risk not getting their medicine. Facilities are expected to implement special lines or hours, online ordering, curbside pick-up, or home delivery to ensure patient access is uninterrupted.

The cannabis companies will be assessed on diversity in hiring and management, support for community programs, and the percentage of minority-owned vendors or suppliers with which they contract, among other things.

“We know that drug prohibition laws have through history disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities – and continue to do so,” Wesley McWhite III, NJ-CRC’s director of Diversity and Inclusion, said. “A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership, and these companies that have been benefitting from the market for the past 12 years – and are now expanding into the lucrative recreational space – have a role in helping to accomplish that. Making the standards and the grades public ensures customers, stakeholders, advocates, and the general public have a clear picture of the equity and diversity efforts in the New Jersey market.”

New Jersey FCU That Aims to Serve Formerly Incarcerated People Is Approved for Charter Application

Courtesy of


May 2022 – NCUA has extended its approval for a new charter application for Diverge, a proposed federal credit union that says its mission is to advance economic empowerment for historically marginalized and unbanked communities.

In a statement announcing the approval, organizers said, “Discrimination in financial services is a significant problem for millions of formerly incarcerated individuals, and especially impacts people of color and women. An unwelcoming financial system forces people to rely on check cashers, payday lenders and other high-cost, non-bank alternatives.”

Organizers added that the proposed Diverge FCU will address systemic discrimination by improving access to affordable products and financial education to help people build long-term financial health.

“I’d like to commend the team behind Diverge PFCU’s charter application. Their concept is an example of true financial inclusion, and it’s also an example of why reforming NCUA’s chartering process is one of my top priorities,” said NCUA Vice Chairman Kyle S. Hauptman in a statement.

How to Join

Individuals, businesses, and other organizations can join the proposed new credit union through approved membership organizations, including First Step Alliance, whose membership is broadly open to formerly incarcerated people, their families, and supporters, organizers said.

Future credit union members will be able to access their accounts online and with a mobile banking app, as well as through a large fee-free ATM network, organizers further stated, adding that future CU staff will provide more personalized service by phone and at planned branch locations.

“Justice-involved individuals are frequently shut out of mainstream banking, forcing them to use high-cost, often predatory non-bank providers,” said Nancy Eiden, founder and board chair for First Step Alliance. “Everyone deserves a fair chance to restart their lives, and access to financial services is an integral part of successful reentry.”

First Harvest Credit Union and Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity Celebrate Dedication of Nonprofit’s 50th Home


December 14, 2021 —On Tuesday, December 14, First Harvest Credit Union joined Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity at a dedication ceremony for the 50th home built and purchased through the nonprofit organization. First Harvest serves as the financing agency for the mortgage on the Glassboro home, as well as many other Gloucester County Habitat homes.

“First Harvest Credit Union is proud to help Gloucester County Habitat for Humanity give hardworking families the opportunity to achieve the goal of affordable homeownership,” said Ernest Huggard, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Harvest Credit Union. “The organization’s mission is consistent with our own commitment to social responsibility as we support and improve the communities we serve.”

NJ Department of Banking and Insurance Receives Reaccreditation from National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors
Department Has Received Accreditation in Insurance, Banking

August 18, 2021 — Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced today that the department has received reaccreditation in both insurance and banking, which certifies that the department meets the national standards and practices set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) accreditation program reviews state insurance departments every five years to ensure they meet financial solvency oversight standards. The department received the final results of the Accreditation Review for the Insurance Division on Friday, August 13th, with accreditation granted during the NAIC Summer National Meeting. In 2020, the department received accreditation from the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) following a comprehensive review of the Banking Division. The CSBS reviews state banking departments every five years.

“The reaccreditation of the department gives consumers and the entities we regulate the confidence that our banking and insurance divisions meet national regulatory standards and have the resources and expertise to carry out the department’s mission,” said Commissioner Caride.


CrossState Joins Coalitions to Advance Immunity Legislation in NJ and PA
AUG 27, 2020—CrossState, along with other New Jersey and Pennsylvania trade associations, businesses, and organizations, wrote in support of legislation that would provide liability protections for healthcare practitioners and individuals providing business services from personal injury resulting from exposure to COVID-19 while on their premises. (Sign-in required to read)

Governor signs prize-linked savings measure
Jan. 19, 2016 — Trenton — Legislation which authorizes New Jersey credit unions and banks to offer savings promotions, also known as “prize-linked savings accounts,” was signed into law Jan. 19 by Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Prize-linked savings heads to governor’s desk
Dec. 18, 2015
— Trenton – Legislation that would authorize New Jersey credit unions and banks to offer savings promotions, also known as “prize-linked savings accounts,” passed the NJ Assembly yesterday by a 67-0 vote. The state Senate approved the measure May 18. The bill must be signed by the governor before it becomes law.

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