Since Phil Murphy became governor elect, replacing the nation’s least popular governor in history, Chris Christie, New Jerseyites have been waiting with bated breath to see cannabis become legal. Some out of worry, but most out of pure excitement.
Murphy promised to legalize recreational cannabis within his first 100 days in office. While there was already a bill introduced in January, it has stayed in committee and in Assembly respectively, with Christie’s foot firm on the brakes.
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Legislators and advocates are working on drafting a new bill now, as they acknowledge that the older bill needed some tweaking to pass the Legislature.
To answer the above question on home cultivation, the answer is a strong maybe. In the current bill the answer is no, no growing your own, however, that could change with the new bill. Kate Bell from the Marijuana Policy Project says that they are advocating strongly for home grow inclusion and they seem to be making progress with their case, according to NJ.com.
As to the rest of what we know about the existing bill, adults 21 and over will be able to possess up to one ounce of dried cannabis. Only towns that allow recreational sales will stand to benefit from the tax revenue. Best of all, those whose criminal records consist of nonviolent cannabis “crimes” will be eligible to have their records expunged.
Criminal justice is one of Murphy’s main reasons for wanting to dispel of prohibition. He knows the numbers and that black and brown people are arrested and incarcerated at much higher levels than whites, while data shows that people of all races use cannabis at around the same rate.
A new, diverse market is about to open in New Jersey, and diversity is one of the original bill’s points. It calls for women and minorities to be given the chance at licenses to grow or distribute. It’s not all about the weed, it’s about jobs, justice, diversification, infrastructure and the tax revenue that will help in all areas.
And though the original bill doesn’t allow for public usage, there’s a great possibility that legislators have been doing their homework and know that places to consume are a must. Plus, MPP is already on it. New Jersey may have a new kind of social club sooner than later…