NJ RAMP is a coalition of individuals and associations who believe that the health, safety and economic harms or recreational marijuana legalization far outweighs the perceived social benefits. We are medical doctors, employers, treatment providers, drug prevention professionals, business owners, employees, law enforcement officers, and parents. NJ RAMP believes that NJ communities should not be victims of the commercialization and normalization of marijuana.

Our Message to policy makers:

Marijuana – DON’T legalize! Be guided by science, not dollars. Promote a balanced, public health approach, reducing criminal penalties, with responsible policies protecting our Health, Families and Children, Education, the Environment and our Communities, including our marginalized and underserved communities, communities of color and the Business community. Legalization is not the answer for New Jersey.

Dr. Kevin Sabet

Founder & President

Described by NBC as the “prodigy” of drug politics and policy, Kevin A. Sabet, PhD, is an author, consultant, former advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations, assistant professor, and serves as the President and CEO of SAM, which he founded with former Congressman Patrick Kennedy in 2013. He has studied, researched, written about, and implemented drug policy for almost 20 years. He has worked in the Clinton (2000), Bush (2002-2003) Administrations, and in 2011 he stepped down after serving more than two years as the senior advisor to President Obama’s drug control director, having been the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration. He has appeared since at the Aspen Ideas and New Yorker festivals, on the Organization of American States blue ribbon commission advising hemispheric drug policy, and in hundreds of forums and discussions promoting the ideas outlined in his first book, Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana, published by Beaufort. He has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy.

Congressman Patrick Kennedy

Founder & NJ Resident

The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. During his 16-year career representing Rhode Island in Congress, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against these illnesses, highlighted by his lead sponsorship of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008–and his brave openness about his own health challenges.

The son of Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy, he decided to leave Congress not long after his father’s death to devote his career to advocacy for brain diseases and to create a new, healthier life and start a family. He has since founded the Kennedy Forum, which unites the community of mental health, and co-founded One Mind for Research, a global leader in open science collaboration in brain research. Kennedy is also the co-author of “A Common Struggle,” which outlines both his personal story and a bold plan for the future of mental health in America.

Patrick lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amy, and their four children.

Will Jones III

Communications and Outreach Associate

Coming from a legacy of civil rights leaders in Washington, D.C, Will Jones is dedicated to continuing the heritage of promoting the healthy progression of the nation, specifically in the African-American community. Partnering with national drug policy advisors and leaders around Washington, D.C., in 2014 Jones founded Two Is Enough (TIE DC) to foster progress in drug education and expose and combat the negative social, health, and economic consequences of legal and illegal drugs.
Mr. Jones has been featured on a wide variety of TV and radio outlets talking about marijuana policy including Howard Vocal Point WHUT, Fox Business –The John Stossel Show, WUSA9, NBC4, WTOP, Reuters TV, TheTomiLahren Show with OAN News, The Ingrahm Angle – Fox, Telemundo DC, Voice Of America, The Kojo Nnamdi Show, CBS, WNEW, Radio France, BBC World, Dutch TV, Al Jazeera, ICTV Channel (Ukraine), Marc Steiner Show, C-span.

He has also been covered in a variety of print outlets as well including the Washington Post, Washington Times, Washingtonian, Washington Informer, WAMU, VOX, The Telegraph,CBS DC, Afro- American, Huffington Post, Fusion, DC1st, Associated Press.

He is currently working on his MPA at George Washington University. He graduated Cum Laude from Columbia International University (CIU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Business and was inducted into the CIU Delta Epsilon Chi Honor society. Mr. Jones has served in various leadership roles and has been a recipient of scholarships and awards for leadership and societal change including: delegate to the South Carolina Student Legislature, president of the CIU African-American Student Association, recipient of CIU Presidential and Leadership scholarships.

Senior Advisors

Dr. Jethro James

Pastor Paradise Baptist Church - Newark, NJ

President - Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen, Inc.

Bishop James has served as pastor of Paradise Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey for twenty eight (28) and is President of the Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen, Inc. His many years of community service include membership in several civic and fraternal organizations and the State of New Jersey Attorney Legal Ethics Committee. He currently serves as a chaplain for New Jersey State Police Department. Certified by the State of New Jersey as a Social Worker, he is chairperson of the Human Services Advisory Council of Essex County, chairperson of appropriations committee of FEMA for the City of Newark, and Community Advisor to the State of New Jersey Office of Homeland Security. Bishop James also serves as a member or the Law & Justice Transition Team for Governor Phil Murphy, Senior Advisor for R.A.M.P. (Responsible Approached To Marijuana Policy) and a National Spokesperson for S.A.M (Smart Approached To Marijuana) all of which have provided the opportunity to speak to government and agencies nationwide and the Congress of the United States.

Peter A. Brown Jr.

Founder and CEO of PBG Solutions LLC

Councilman Peter A. Brown Jr. is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PGB Solutions LLC. He currently services a councilman for the City of Linden and as Chairman of the Linden Special Improvement District. He graduated from Kean University with a degree in Psychology and is working on pursuing his Phd. He is currently married to Joanna “Vanessa” Diaz and they are expecting their fifth child.

Joe Pulmeri

Ijeoma Opara

MPH, MSW, LSW

Ijeoma Opara is a NIDA/NIH funded doctoral fellow in the Behavioral Sciences Training in Drug Abuse Research at New York University. Ms. Opara research interests focuses on examining protective factors for sexual risk behavior and drug use among Black and Hispanic girls. Ms. Opara utilizes a strengths-based approach in her research focuses on highlighting the resiliency in ethnic minority families and their role in HIV/AIDS and drug use prevention. Ms. Opara heavily advocates for such empowerment based approaches to be infused in health policy. Ms. Opara is also an affiliate investigator for the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. As an affiliate, Ms. Opara receives frequent trainings on innovative approaches to reduce disparities caused by substance abuse that effect vulnerable populations. Ijeoma received her BA in Psychology from New Jersey City University, a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from New York Medical College and a Master of Social Work from New York University. While at NYMC, Ijeoma was selected as a CDC extern where she was placed at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to conduct research on racial disparities in asthma morbidity in African American children contributed by environmental tobacco smoke. While at NYU, she received a competitive SAMHSA/HRSA fellowship that provided core strategies on the integration of primary and behavioral healthcare in order to improve the lives of homeless women of color and veterans in New York City. Ms. Opara also attended the University of Pennsylvania for post-baccalaureate pre-health coursework and is a licensed social worker for the state of New Jersey and New York.

Ms. Opara is also a PhD candidate and a Doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. As a research fellow, Ms. Opara works in a SAMHSA funded research lab where she provides support to two programs: Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) & Project Community Organizing for Prevention Education (Project COPE). Ijeoma’s primary role as a research fellow is to evaluate both programs, disseminate data and findings to community stakeholders, and educate youth and youth adults using an evidence based curriculum involving HIV/AIDS, Drug Use, and Viral Hepatitis prevention strategies.
Before pursuing her doctorate, Ijeoma worked as a youth and family therapist for an alternative-to-incarceration agency in New York City where she primarily served urban youth of color and their families. In addition to conducting research and advocating for policy change, Ms. Opara is also a lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work where she teaches Human Behavior & Social Environment courses. She also teaches Substance Abuse policy at Silberman School of Social Work MSW program at Hunter College.

Ms. Opara has received numerous awards for her work on HIV/AIDS and drug use prevention including being named AcademyHealth’s “ Population Health Scholar” award and one of POZ Magazine’s Top 100 women ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Ms. Opara has presented her work at national conferences such as the American Public Health Association and National Council on Family Relations, and internationally at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Ms. Opara’s role in NJ-RAMP as a policy advisor is to primarily influence marijuana legislation in New Jersey by encouraging legislators to utilize a public health framework for marijuana policy in addition to utilizing an upstream approach to drug use prevention. Ms. Opara is very passionate about improving health outcomes for Black and Hispanic youth and advocates for policy makers to aggressively incorporate concrete plans to reduce drug use and access in urban communities.

Rory Wells

Senior Legal Advisor NJ-RAMP, Former Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor, Partner - Goldman Wells Legal Group

Rory Wells is a licensed, practicing attorney and one of the founding partners of the
GoldmanWells Legal Group based in Red Bank, New Jersey. Prior to opening the firm Rory served as an
Assistant Prosecutor with the Ocean County Prosecutors Office for over 12 years.
While at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Rory also served as the Community Relations
Officer and spoke extensively throughout the state on topics that include leadership, diversity, the drug
crisis, generational issues and criminal law. Rory serves as the Co-chair of the RWJBarnabas Institute for
Prevention Dart Coalition (2017-2018), whose mission is to reduce substance abuse within Ocean County
and beyond. Rory earned his Bachelor of Science degree, magna cum laude, in government and public
administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY before going on to serve as a
Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After serving in the Marine Corps, he earned his Juris
Doctor degree from Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach, VA.

Mary Pat Angelini

CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Mary Pat is CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health Group – a leading, non-profit behavioral healthcare
organization. In her role, she oversees the provision of programs and services that teach, improve,
enhance and maintain mental health and healthy lifestyles across the age continuum. Prior to her
current role at PBHG, she served as Executive Director of Prevention First, where she oversaw
programs to counter the negative effects of drugs, violence and bullying. Both non-profits have been
the recipient of many awards under her leadership.
Mary Pat Angelini served in the NJ’s General Assembly from 2008-2016 as Deputy Conference
Leader and ranking member of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee. While in the
Legislature, Ms. Angelini sponsored legislation to improve the conditions at state psychiatric
hospitals, and to address underage drinking and drug abuse. She was prime sponsor of the “Anti-
Bullying Bill of Rights,” and the “911” or “Lifeline” legislation, which establishes a “safe haven” from
prosecution for minors who summon medical assistance for intoxicated underage persons. In
addition, she has fought for strict ethics reform and stronger regulations for child care centers.
Mary Pat has received numerous awards over her professional career. She has consistently been
recognized for her commitment and support of children and families in NJ. She was honored by the
Children’s Aid and Family Services and named “Children’s Advocate of the Year” by the American
Academy of Pediatrics. She was also named “Legislative Champion for Improving Treatment” by the
NJ Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies and Mental Health Association of
Monmouth County “Tony Dowling Child Advocacy” Award.
Mary Pat earned a Bachelor of Social Welfare from East Tennessee State University and a Master
of Public Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is a Certified Prevention Specialist.
Mary Pat and her husband, Robert, reside in Ocean Township. They have two children and three
grandchildren.

Dr. Jethro James Senior Advisor

Senior Pastor of Paradise Baptist Church Newark,NJ
President of the Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen

Mary Pat Angelini

CEO, Preferred Behavioral Health Group

Ron Importico

President, ICC - Industrial Cooling Corporation

Dr. Calvin Chatlos

Addictions Psychiatrist, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Sherriff Shaun Golden

Sheriff of Monmouth County and Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University, Department of Political Science and Public Policy.

Joe Williams

Executive Director/CEO South West Council (Prevention Treatment & Personal Recovery Support)

Dr. Robert Zlotnick

Executive Director Atlantic Prevention Resources

Ron Rosetto

Founder of Hope Sheds Light (Dedicated to educating families on the disease of addiction by creating awareness, providing resources and installing hope for a healthier community)

Organizations/Supporters

Preferred Behavioral Health Services

Cape Assist

New Jersey Prevention Network

South West Council

Atlantic Prevention Services

Partners in Prevention

Prevention Coalition of Mercer County

Center for Prevention and Counseling

Hope Shed Light

Patterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse

New Jersey Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Supporters & Sponsors

NJ-RAMP is a coalition of prevention, treatment, law enforcement, business, recovery, parents, education, and other communities concerned about the normalization and commercialization of marijuana in New Jersey.

STAFF

Stephen Reid

Executive Director

Press Inquiries

Jeanette Hoffman

jeanette@marathoncomms.com
‭phone: (908) 418-0859‬