The Garden State is jumping feet-first into 2021, and with a historic vote to legalize marijuana in the rearview mirror, some New Jersey residents may have an urgent question that needs answering: Can I legally smoke a joint to ring in the new year?
The short answer is – not yet.
When New Jersey residents voted in the 2020 general election, they cast ballots for a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, which already has a booming medical marijuana program. That amendment takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
But there's a catch. New Jersey lawmakers and the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) – the state board charged with regulating marijuana – have to hammer out a framework of laws and rules before weed becomes legal.
An initial attempt at passing the needed bill in the Legislature was panned by many marijuana advocates, who claimed it didn't do enough to remedy a long history of damage to vulnerable communities and populations.