NJ Marijuana Legalization News

Update 2/19/18

On Thursday, February 15th, NJ assemblyman Reed Gusciora, introduced a new bill to amend New Jerseys medical marijuana program.  This is separate from the recreational legalization bill he has been advocating.  The new bill would allow for 12 more dispensaries, for a total of 18.  Currently there are only 6 throughout the State, and this has caused trouble for a lot of people to travel to them to get their medicine.  The bill also contemplates adding new 43 medical conditions that would be eligible for medical marijuana, one of which is chronic pain.  Other parts of the bill would quadruple the allowable amount of weed purchased from one (1) ounce, to 4 (4) ounces.  It would increase access to edible, oils and other marijuana products.  Currently only one of the 6 dispensaries sell anything more than raw marijuana to be smoked.  It would further allow doctors generally to prescribe the medicine rather than only allowing a few specific doctors to do so.  Obviously, this represents a huge increase to access to medical marijuana, particularly if recreational legalization fails.  Stay tuned.

Update 2/15/18

Toms River town council has voted to table a possible town ordinance that would ban the sale of pot.  This does not mean that this will not come into play later on, but it does show some more openness to the possibility of allowing recreational marijuana in the town.

Bridgewater Township, Councilman Matthew Moench, seems to be urging the town to preemptively ban legalized recreational marijuana. We’ll keep you up to date if his ill thought-out plan is ever successful. 

A lot of the arguments against the legalization of pot revolve around the supposed increased traffic accidents and DUI consequences.  These allegations that marijuana legalization increases DUI and Accidents have been repeatedly debunked.

Update 2/9/18

On March 5, the NJ Assemblys committee on Oversight, Reform & Federal Relations will be having a meeting to hear the publics thoughts on cannabis legalization

News

Legal marijuana access is likely going to increase this year in New Jersey.  Weed legalization bills have passed the NJ legislature in past years, they were vetoed by former governor Chris Christie.  Our new Governor, Phil Murphy, states that he is unopposed to such changes in the law.  Currently the simple possession of pot carries many penalties.

Senate Bill No. 830, New Jersey’s latest marijuana legalization bill, was introduced to the Senate on January 9, 2018.  S830 (also the companion bill spoken about below A1348) allows people 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot (28 grams), 16 ounces of solid edibles, 72 ounces of drinkables, 7 grams of marijuana concentrate and grow up to 6 plants with only three of them being mature at any one time.  The law does not allow for public open use.  The bill will deny employers, without good cause, for taking action against employees for their pot use outside the workplace.  Governor Phil Murphy has promised to sign marijuana legalization bills into law and so this version may be what is eventually signed into law.

Home grown provisions are newly introduced by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.  Formerly the bills did not include a legal method by which NJ residents could grow their own weed in the comfort of their home.  

Much of the opposition comes from people believing legalization will lead to more DUIs and Traffic Deaths.  According to various studies, marijuana legalization has not caused increased traffic accidents / deaths.

Many towns and counties are thinking of opting out of the legalization and not permitting distributors on their lands.  While it would still become decriminalized or fully legal to possess in these areas, sale of the pot might not be allowed.  Ocean County has thus far come out against legalization.  Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Litle, has seemingly even made the patently wrong assertion that because pot is a Schedule 1 drug, it must be more addictive cocaine, a Schedule 2 drug. Berkeley Township, Point Pleasant Beach, and Seaside Heights have so far decided they will not allow the sale of weed.  The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders have also come out publically against legalization in general, although there is not yet a specific plan to ban it if it becomes legal.

Asbury park and Jersey City have both come out in support of legalization.


New York Marijuana Legalization News

In February of 2017, Governor Cuomo stated that he is unconvinced on recreational marijuana.  He appears to be reconsidering that stance as of January 2018, after commenting on the fact that New York sits between both Vermont and Massachusetts who have already legalized, and New Jersey where legalization of recreational pot may soon be a reality.  Polls seem to indicate that a majority of voters, particularly young voters, support the legalization of weed.  

Governor Cuomo, in 2014, signed New York’s medical marijuana law.  

Marijuana Legalization in New York has taken interesting turns, here is an article going far more in-depth on the issue of lobbying, etc.


United States Marijuana Legalization News

In 2017, Senator Cory Booker proposed the Marijuana Justice Act.  If enacted, this would end the U.S. governments listing of pot as a Schedule 1 drug.  Schedule 1 drugs include certain other likely misclassified drugs such as LSD, MDMA, and Psilocybin, as well as more harmful drugs like Bath Salts, Heroin, and GHB.  The bill also would incentivize legalization of weed in states whose drug laws disproportionately affect minorities (this would be most states).

Republican Senator Thom Tillis, a member of the senate judiciary committee along side Senator Booker, while cautious, seems to agree with Booker and will likely be pushing for legalization along with him.  While the bill seems unlikely to pass in the near term, given the Republican dominated legislature, it is something to keep an eye on in the future.

 

 

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