New Jersey is the most recent domino on the east coast to fall as the wave of adult-use cannabis legalization continues to wash across the country. As the first state to legislatively refer the question onto the ballot (as opposed to individual-lead ballot initiatives), New Jerseyians have voiced their support for legalized, recreational, adult-use cannabis by a two-thirds margin. This resulted in a recent Amendment to the New Jersey Constitution and passage of enabling legislation that will set the stage for the burgeoning market to grow in the garden state.
The new legislation has significant legal implications affecting New Jersey employers and employees, cannabis operators, law enforcement personnel, and municipalities, among others.
Despite the majority vote in favor of legalized adult-use cannabis in November 2020, and the legislature passing enabling bill A21 in December 2020, Governor Murphy initially refused to deliver legalization to the voters. However, on February 22, 2021, after a two-month political debate about how New Jersey should deal with underage possession and consumption of cannabis, the Governor signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (A21), along with a decriminalization/criminal reforms (A1897/A4269), and a clarifying or cleanup bill (A5342). The three bills together create the framework of a legal adult-use cannabis market, decriminalize low-level marijuana offenses, and eliminate criminal underage use and possession penalties. The new law has been described as the most progressive social/criminal justice reform related to cannabis and policing in the country.
If you would like to know more about the new legislation in New Jersey, please contact your Earp Cohn P.C. New Jersey cannabis attorney. At Earp Cohn, our attorneys are well versed in corporate and regulatory law, as well as state and federal laws regarding regulated substances. With offices in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, we can help guide you and your business through the new cannabis legislation in New Jersey and offer advice on regulatory limitations and opportunities. Call the attorneys at Earp Cohn, PC at 856-354-7700 in New Jersey or 215-963-9520 in Philadelphia. Or you can contact them online.