The New Jersey legislature is working quickly to pass this enabling legislation, known as the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (NJCREAMMA) (S21/A21). The legislature is also working to pass a separate law that would decriminalize possession and distribution of small amounts of marijuana, among other things (S2535/A-1897/A-4269, referred to here as the decriminalization bill). The decriminalization bill is necessary, in part, because individuals still face arrest between now and January 1, 2021 and the constitutional amendment does not legalize recreational cannabis use for individuals under the age of 21.
Both the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee approved NJCREAMMA on November 9. On Thursday, November 12, lawmakers will hold further committee hearings on NJCREAMMA and expect the legislation could pass the full Senate and Assembly by November 16. If enacted as currently written, NJCREAMMA and the decriminalization bill will have important implications for New Jersey employers. These proposed laws, however, are still moving through the legislative process, subject to change, and likely will have to be reconciled to iron out inconsistencies.