Members of the New Jersey state Assembly and Senate have given final approval to legislation permitting the possession of marijuana by adults and regulating its commercial production and retail sales. Each of the measures now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. The Assembly approved A21 by a 49 to 24 vote with six abstentions, and the Senate later approved S21 by a 23 to 17 vote.
“I commend lawmakers for working quickly to implement the will of the voters, who made their mandate clear at the ballot box.” said NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf. “While this legislation is not perfect and our work is far from finished, it is a crucial step forward toward repairing the decades of damage done to New Jersey’s most vulnerable communities as a result of the enforcement of marijuana prohibition. Historically, law enforcement in New Jersey has arrested more people per capita for marijuana law violations than almost any other state in the nation. Most notably, going forward tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding New Jerseyans will no longer be subject to arrest, incarceration, and a criminal record for their personal use of marijuana, and that is a reason to celebrate.”
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.