The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Act

NJ Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana use has been approved for certain medical conditions in New Jersey since 2010 pursuant the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (“CUMMA”).  The enactment of CUMMA recognized the medical efficacy of marijuana for a limited class of persons suffering serious illness.

The 2010 law, as enacted was more restrictive in terms of qualifying patients than many other states that also authorized legal medical marijuana use. However, since taking office Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order No. 6 aimed at providing patients with “a greater opportunity to obtain medical marijuana”.  The Order effectively streamlined the process to obtain a license and the number of qualifying medical conditions was expanded. Thus, the Murphy administration has demonstrated a softening of the position on marijuana legalization that had been taken by the Governor’s Office of previous administrations.

Along those lines, the New Jersey legislature and Governor are now analyzing and debating whether the legalization of recreational marijuana is appropriate for the Garden State. Though no final vote is scheduled lawmakers have suggested it could be imminent. The proposed bill aimed at legalizing marijuana for recreational use would still impose certain restrictions such as:

·     Age limits

·     Quantities that may be possessed and,

·     The ability to grow marijuana

The argument espoused by legislators in favor of legalization contend production will be controlled, tax revenue generated, and there will be reduction of social disparities in law enforcement.

Though a final bill has not been agreed upon by our lawmakers, and recreational marijuana use remains illegal in New Jersey, it appears within the next several months New Jersey may become the ninth state to legalize marijuana.

April 2, 2019

The New Jersey Cannabis Act did not get the 21 votes necessary for passage in the state Senate. The bill may pushed forward again later this year; however no date has been set as of this writing.

February 2, 2019
Author: John E. Gregory, Jr.
Partner, Personal Injury
Practice Area Center: Criminal Defense

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