It’s more than just semantics. Guidance issued this year to law enforcement officers from state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal draws a distinction between “regulated cannabis” and “marijuana and hashish,” with the latter still defined as a controlled dangerous substance, a legal term for illegal drugs.
Aside from people with doctor’s recommendations for medical marijuana, there is no place in New Jersey to buy “regulated cannabis” yet. It will likely be 2022 before the recently appointed Cannabis Regulatory Commission completes the rules governing that market and the first legal sales to adults take place.
“All forms of the substance that are not regulated cannabis or medical cannabis are treated as ‘marijuana’ or ‘hashish.’ Under the new laws, marijuana and hashish are still defined as ‘controlled dangerous substances’ under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2, but are largely decriminalized for non-distribution offenses,” reads the letter of guidance.
“I think that it’s kind of weird how they’re doing that,” said Ed Grimes of the organization Sativa Cross, which advocates for access to medical marijuana. He said he and others in New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana last November. “That doesn’t seem like real legalization to me. It just seems like it’s creating more division.”
Cannabis users — or almost anyone who listens to hip-hop or rock ‘n’ roll — have likely come across a dizzying number of nicknames for the substance.