Murphy came into office in 2018 after campaigning to legalize marijuana. But the idea faced a rocky path to fruition as the state’s lawmakers debated whether and how to implement legalization. Ultimately, lawmakers put the issue in front of voters last November — and the ballot initiative won overwhelmingly, with 67 percent support. Even then, legalization efforts stalled as Murphy and legislators debated penalties for those under 21 years old. Only after New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill that imposed civil penalties for those under 21 did Murphy finally sign the full suite of legalization legislation.
“This process may have had its fits and starts, but it is ending in the right place,” Murphy said on Monday. “And, I firmly believe, this process has ended in laws that will serve as a national model.”
New Jersey already allowed marijuana use for medical purposes. The new laws expand legalization to recreational and other nonmedical uses.