Friday, June 21, 2024

Bill To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Introduced In New Jersey

It’s no secret that newly minted NJ Governor Phil Murphy is a vocal supporter of both medical and recreational cannabis. It was a big part of his gubernatorial campaign and he’s been sticking to his word since winning office. During Murphy’s first week as governor, he signed into legislation a bill to better New Jersey’s floundering medical marijuana laws. At the same time, he introduced Senate Bill No. 830, which aims to legalize adult use.

This would be a major milestone for the Garden State, especially considering the stance of previous governor Chris Christie, who despite being the least popular governor in US history, held the office for eight long years. Christie did everything he could to stop even medical marijuana, so recreational legalization seemed like a far-fetched idea.

S830 was introduced by NJ Senator Nicholas Scutari on January 9, 2018 and starts off with some of the hard facts about New Jersey and cannabis use, including incarceration rates, racial disparity in arrests despite similar rates of use, the black market and the $127 million per year that taxpayers dole out for cannabis related law enforcement over possession.

And speaking of possession, S830 would allow New Jerseyans 21 and older to have cannabis paraphernalia, up to one ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces or less of solid infused pot products, up to seven grams of concentrate, and oddly, up to six immature plants.

The six immature plants will be able to be transferred to another 21 or older resident, provided it is not for business or promotional purposes, but the language is yet unclear as to what else can be done with the non-flowering cannabis plants. It seems that licensed, large-scale grow facilities would do best to grow their own seedlings or make their own cuttings in a sterile environment, but time will tell what the final language will be or even if this bill passes the Senate.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora co-sponsored the above Bill, however, he also plans on introducing his own bill into the Senate in the coming weeks. In his proposed Bill, things would be along the same lines as S830, but with a couple of key differences: lower taxes and home cultivation. New Jersey residents would be able to grow those six plants to fruition.

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