After years of false starts and unsuccessful attempts, Gov. Philip D. Murphy signed into law three bills on Monday that effectively allow and regulate effective marijuana use in New Jersey, making it the most populous state in the Northeast to abolish the drug altogether . .
New Jersey is now one of 14 states to legalize recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, while reducing several penalties for reduced possession and allowing for the creation of a regulated market Can provide a welcome boost to the economy. The epidemic is overcome.
The legal sale is off for months at the earliest, as the state takes on its next task of creating a large regulated industry to support public demand, with licenses still to be excluded for dispensaries.
But after years of failed legislative efforts to approve recreational marijuana use, Monday’s move came as a long-awaited victory for supporters, including Mr. Murphy, who disliked the number of marijuana arrests. Had pushed long to include measures of. Communities of color.
“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice,” Mr. Murphy said in a statement on Monday. “Maintaining the status quo that allows tens of thousands of people in New Jersey to be deprived of color each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and uncertain.”
Mr. Murphy supported the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in early 2016 during his campaign for governor. But those efforts failed to get enough support among MPs.
In New Jersey, the state is expected to generate approximately $ 126 million in revenue per year after the new industry becomes marketable – potentially serving as a motivator for accelerated progress as fiscal holes during the state epidemic Struggles to fill up. Mr Murphy said on Monday that the market would “start taking shape” over the next several months.
In Massachusetts, two years passed between voters’ approval of illegal marijuana use and the launch of the state’s first dispensaries.
The legalization trip to New Jersey has already met with delays.
In November, voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in the state, by a margin of about 2 to 1 – increasing pressure on neighboring states like New York and Pennsylvania to take similar steps. But state officials were still left to debate many details surrounding the implementation, including regulations related to regulating and testing cannabis, how licenses would be issued, and marijuana users under 21 How to be punished
In the months between the passage in November and the signature on Monday, police across the state made thousands of charges for possession of minor hemp. Guidance issued by the New Jersey Attorney General instructed prosecutors to suspend some cases involving marijuana possession charges while the legislature protested.
It would be difficult, however, to buy recreational marijuana until the state licenses its first dispensary. Some supporters signed Monday’s bill As a symbolic turn after the era of racial disparities in enforcement. Black New Jersey residents were more than three times as likely to be charged with possession of marijuana as white residents, despite similar rates of use.
“With Governor Murphy’s signature, the decades-long practice of racist marijuana enforcement will have to be resumed,” Amol Sinha, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, said in a statement. “Cannabis laws of our state can set a new standard for justice.”
The law, signed Monday by Mr. Murphy, reduces the use or possession of up to six ounces of marijuana. Use of the drug was already permitted for some medical purposes, but, unlike many other states, patients are not allowed to grow cannabis on their own.
Reduced use or possession will be met with small penalties, including written warnings and counseling and counseling or counseling – in the form of criminal punishment – community services such as counseling and counseling.
Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in 14 states and with another voting initiative approved by voters in Washington, DC, South Dakota, which now faces legal challenges. But no other Mid-Atlantic state has successfully faced through the myriad logistic obstacles associated with the move.
In early January, Gov. Andrew M. of New York. Cuomo renewed its pledge to allow recreational use of marijuana, proposing a new office to regulate the market. But similar efforts have been unpublished each year since 2019, with widespread disagreements about how to distribute tax dollars from marijuana sales and distribution licenses.
Opponents have argued that the legalization of marijuana and a strong cannabis industry could lead to negative public health consequences, especially for fewer users.
Still, New York is facing more than $ 60 billion in fiscal holes over the next four years and the epidemic has led to other declines, with greater momentum expected for legalization this year – as officials estimate Legal weed can raise up to $ 300 million annually.
“I think it should have been passed years ago,” Mr. Cuomo said during a video briefing in January. “This year will give us momentum to get to the goal line.”
Tracy Tully, Luis Fer-Sadurni And Jessie McKinley Contributed to reporting.