or to vote comment and more!
Though legislators soundly sent legalization and decriminalization bills to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk last month, the governor has yet to sign it, concerned over a lack of penalties for underage use.
The two camps reached an agreement on a cleanup bill that would limit youth enforcement to curbside warnings and stationhouse adjustments — essentially talks with police officers — but that measure died when Senate sponsors pulled their support after members of the Legislative Black Caucus warned the bill would negatively impact youths in Black and Brown communities.
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.
Is all marijuana use now legal in NJ?
Not all use. Medical marijuana use by patients enrolled in the state’s system has been legal since 2010.
Voters in November cleared the way for recreational marijuana sales, which need to be supported by law. Legislation sent to Gov. Murphy on Dec. 17, calls for “regulated” cannabis to be permitted, as bought from a dispensary or registered seller. By Jan. 4, it still had not been signed into law.
What is the holdup to legal weed?
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.
In general, the decriminalization proposal would remove criminal and civil penalties for possession of up to six ounces of marijuana. While Murphy is in favor of that policy change, the legislation as passed doesn’t maintain penalties for people under 21, and there’s a desire for youth cannabis possession cases to be treated in the same way as underage alcohol possession.
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.
After weeks of negotiations and years of debate, legislators today are expected to finally pass needed legislation that would make marijuana legal in New Jersey beginning Jan. 1.
The Legislature today is expected to pass the two pieces of "enabling" legislation designed to turn New Jersey voters' wishes to legalize marijuana into reality, allowing marijuana users to possess up to 6 ounces of weed and setting up the framework of a license and tax structure for the purchase and sale of legal weed.
The bill commits 70% of the 6.625% sales tax on marijuana products and all money raised from a new excise tax to communities that are disproportionately affected by arrests on marijuana charges.
Is weed decriminalized in NJ? More to come
For over one month, legislators and activists have sparred — often within their own groups — over what comes next for legal weed.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act would essentially set the rules and framework for regulations for a legal cannabis industry.
New Jerseyans are tantalizingly close to having a constitutional right to use cannabis — but not yet. And based on what happened at the Statehouse on Thursday, not nearly as soon as lawmakers had hoped.
After a pair of committee hearings, Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly remain far apart on key provisions of enabling legislation that sets the legal and regulatory framework for the state’s legalization amendment, which takes effect Jan. 1.