New Jersey Governor Signs Laws to Legalize Marijuana Use and Decriminalize Possession
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law on Monday that makes New Jersey the last US state to legalize recreational marijuana, but it will likely be up to a year before dispensaries start selling cannabis to the public.
Following widespread legalization in various US states in November of last year, New Jersey legalization has now come into effect.
The Democratic governor signed a three-bill program after voters overwhelmingly approved a question on voting in November to legalize adult use of the drug.
This law was enacted more than three years after Mr. Murphy campaigned for governor by promising to legalize recreational use in the state. Legalization has been delayed by political opposition in the state legislature, even though both houses are controlled by members of Mr Murphy's own party.
"New Jersey's marijuana laws, which are broken and untenable, are no longer," Murphy said on Twitter.
Murphy has signed bills that allow possession of up to six ounces of marijuana by people 21 years of age or older. The distribution and cultivation of cannabis without a license remains illegal. The legislation, passed earlier this Monday by the Assembly and the Senate, also eased penalties for minors for possession of marijuana.
New Jersey joins more than a dozen other U.S. states, including the east coast states of Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts, that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Dozens of states allow the use of marijuana by patients with various medical conditions.
The move is expected to boost the pandemic-stricken New Jersey economy by launching a for-profit cannabis industry that is expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state. Recreational sales at state-approved dispensaries, however, may not take place for a year.
“We can get down to the task of establishing a responsible, sustainable, profitable and diverse market for adult and medical cannabis in New Jersey,” said Edmund DeVeaux, director of CannaBusiness of New Jersey, in a report. communicated.
“We can end the senseless arrests for possession and use of a product that should never have been criminalized in the first place, and which voters approved over three months ago,” he said.
Here's What's Legal Under New Jersey's New Marijuana Laws
Reading and understanding the new rules, which span hundreds of pages, is a tedious task. The program consists of three separate bills. One is putting in place a new legalization regime, the other two are reforming the state's massive drug control system.
- AS21 / S21 , defines the rules and regulations for the legal sector
- A1897 , reform criminal and civil penalties for cannabis
- A5342 , further reform the criminal penalties for minors concerning cannabis
However, it will likely be several more months before cannabis becomes available in dispensaries.