Mayor Soriano demanded that the law restore parental notification rights so that parents have the opportunity to address the behavior, and influence decision-making by their children in a positive way.
“Parents need to be involved in our community’s public safety process,” said Mayor Soriano. “I do not support removing the parents’ right to know. As a parent myself we should be given the opportunity to correct the behavior and keep our kids safe. I am in support of legislation to restore parental notification of first underage marijuana and alcohol offenses.”
Adult use is supported by the state’s two most powerful lawmakers and, three months ago, 67 percent of the state’s voters backed a constitutional amendment saying New Jerseyans aged 21 and over should be allowed to sell and use cannabis.
Even so, New Jersey’s three-year odyssey toward a regulated cannabis market nearly ran aground over disagreements between Murphy, top Democrats and leaders of the Black and Latino legislative caucuses over how to penalize kids who have been caught with a loose joint.
Murphy, speaking during a news conference on Monday, said he's had a "good back and forth" and that he's hopeful that any issues can be resolved soon.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin extended the deadline to Feb. 18, allowing the Senate to "complete its discussions and conclude negotiations with the Assembly and governor on revisions to the cannabis legislation."
The legislation would address Murphy's concerns that the state Legislature's bill doesn't penalize underage adults and children for using the drug.
The New Jersey legislature passed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act in December, 2020 (NJ A21) that would establish a licensing system with six classes of licenses to cultivate and distribute cannabis. While the bill would prioritize licenses in “impact zones,” meaning zones with high unemployment and a history of cannabis-related offenses, the bill was criticized for limiting the availability of licenses to 37 licenses total over the next two years for both medical and recreational cultivators.
Two legislative committees on Thursday voted to advance identical versions of the “clean-up” bill, NJ A5211 (20R), to the floor of both the Senate and Assembly. Full votes have been scheduled for Jan. 11, the day before Murphy is scheduled to deliver an annual State of the State address he's typically used as a showcase for the previous year's policy achievements.
The details: The legalization and decriminalization bills make a distinction between marijuana and cannabis, even though they’re the same plant. Cannabis is the term for the legalized drug and marijuana refers to products sold through the unregulated market, according to four people familiar with the discussion.
The process of legalizing marijuana has hit a roadblock now that the Murphy administration is objecting to legislation that creates the framework for selling the drug in the Garden State in 2021, sources told Patch.
Sources confirmed a Politico report that says the Murphy administration is objecting to the legal issues in the long-debated legislation, A-21, that officially legalizes personal use of marijuana, decriminalizes the substance and removes it from the Schedule I drug list.
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.
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.
As a New York-based cannabis entrepreneur, I celebrated as New Jersey's vote to legalize adult use cannabis passed by large margins last month. Unfortunately, that joy quickly soured: Legislators put forth a plan – A-21/S-21 – that lacked key social equity provisions won in other states, including allocating funds to help communities harmed by the War on Drugs and clear opportunities for minority communities to participate in the industry.