Senate Bill 21 and Assembly Bill 21 establish regulatory guidelines for the marijuana market. Under the bills, adults may legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The measures cap the number of commercial cultivators permitted under the law at 37 for the first two years. The measures direct 70 percent of the revenue derived from sales taxes on retail marijuana purchases toward reinvestment in designated communities that have been most adversely impacted by prohibition.
The Assembly approved A21 by a 49 to 24 vote, and the Senate later approved S21 by a 23 to 17 vote.
Legislative leaders reached an agreement on the final details of the legalization implementation plan last week, which was then approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and Assembly Appropriations Committee earlier this week.
Lawmakers separately approved legislation removing criminal and civil penalties for the possession of up to six ounces and for the distribution of up to one ounce of marijuana. An analysis of nationwide arrest data published in 2018 reported that New Jersey was third in the nation in total marijuana arrests and second only to Wyoming in per capita marijuana arrests.