The use and possession of cannabis by any persons over the age of 21 in the state of New Jersey is now legal. In November 2020, New Jerseyans approved Public Question 1 with 67% of voters in support of the measure that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana, making New Jersey the 13th state to actually legalize recreational marijuana. Though the amendment became active on January 1st of this year, it was until February 22nd that New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy, signed the law into effect.
This is a momentous occasion for the Garden State as New Jersey is the first Mid-Atlantic state in which the government is not only legalizing cannabis but also ending arrests for petty marijuana convictions. This law will not only help stimulate New Jersey’s economy, but it will also undo many crimes against minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
Governor Phil Murphy’s Thoughts on New Jersey Cannabis Legalization
Governor Murphy had this to say about the new law, “New Jersey’s broken, indefensible marijuana laws — which permanently stained the records of many residents and short-circuited their futures, disproportionately hurt communities of color and failed the meaning of justice at every level, social or otherwise — are no more. In their place are laws that will usher in a new industry, based on equity, which will reinvest dollars into communities — laws which promote both public health by promoting safe cannabis products and public safety by allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on serious crimes… And yes, we are fulfilling the will of the voters by allowing adult-use cannabis, while having in place common sense measures to deter its use among kids,” Murphy continued.
It should also be noted that New Jersey is one of the only states in which medical marijuana patients are not allowed to grow weed in their residences. When reporters pressed Murphy about the benefits of allowing residents to participate in home grow, he responded “We’re going to go with the bills I just signed. We’ll leave it at that. I appreciate the folks who have reached out on that front, but we’re going to go with what we’ve got.”
Recreational and Medical Marijuana in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware
New Jersey, being the first of these many states to legalize, is presumed to set off a chain reaction of surrounding states that will be increasingly pressured to follow suit. New York, not wanting to lose out on the numerous benefits of a regulated cannabis marketplace, “Feels pretty strongly we will be able to get it passed in both houses,” said Democratic state senator Liz Krueger. She continued by saying, “There will be motivation by many in New York government to not want to continue to lose … economic activity, jobs and money spent to yet another state on our border: New Jersey.”
In Pennsylvania, legalization efforts might prove a bit more difficult to come by as the legislature is primarily Republican-dominated and many are not yet on board with these drug reform policies. Erich Mauff, who is the president of Jushi, a multi-state cannabis company, stated that “Every Republican at some stage will have to look at the economic realities.” Meaning, if their state wants to reap the benefits of a promising, taxable industry , they’re going to have to follow in New Jersey’s footsteps.
Delaware, on the other hand, has been in the works of passing an adult-use legalization bill for the past 4 years. Democratic state representative Ed Osienski said, “I do think (New Jersey) will have an impact. I feel very positive that I’ll have those 25 votes.” Delaware needs 25 out of the 41 representatives to vote yes for this bill to pass the legislature.
Future of Cannabis in the United States
In New Jersey, the president of CannaBusiness Association Edmund DeVeaux had this to say, “It took us a long time to get here, but thankfully, finally we can move forward. We can stop the senseless arrests for possession and use of a product that should have never been criminalized in the first place, and the voters approved over three months ago. We can get down to the business of establishing a responsible, sustainable, profitable and diverse adult-use and expanded medical cannabis market in New Jersey. Now the real work can begin.”
With this new wave of politicians across the country shifting their positions on medical and recreational weed, cannabis enthusiasts and marijuana activists alike are hopeful for what the future will bring.
At The Weed Blog, we strive to produce the latest online news resources regarding marijuana. We also review various strains of cannabis or other edible counterparts. We are committed to helping you find valuable information about marijuana on our website. With marijuana laws constantly changing, learn from us what you can do to promote activism in your area. Otherwise, consider these other top-tier articles regarding cannabis: