New Jersey Finally Legalizes Recreational Marijuana
New Jersey officially became the 14th state to legalize recreational use of marijuana after Democratic Gov. Philip D. Murphy signed three bills into law this week.
New Jersey lawmakers have been struggling and failing to actually legalize recreational sales and use for years. Last year, lawmakers punted the matter to voters in a referendum. Those voters overwhelmingly said yes—67 percent approved an amendment to the state constitution legalizing marijuana possession, cultivation, and use.
But that amendment still left lawmakers with the job of hammering out the actual laws controlling the marijuana marketplace. In the meantime, police were actually still citing people for marijuana possession despite the legalization proposition passing in November.
The new legislation will allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to six ounces of marijuana. It’ll be months before retail sales actually start, and, of course, those sales will be heavily regulated and taxed. And unfortunately for New Jersey tokers with green thumbs, residents will not be permitted to grow their own.
A debate over how to deal with underage users contributed to the delay in getting the bills passed. Ultimately, pushed by Murphy, lawmakers agreed to smaller penalties for underage use, starting with a written warning, followed by recommendations to social s
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