New Jersey becomes 14th US state to make smoking weed legal


New Jersey has become the 14th US state to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The bill, which was signed into law yesterday by governor Phil Murphy, includes legislation to set up a recreational marijuana marketplace, the decriminalization of cannabis and the loosening penalties for underage possession of the drug. The state will now regulate the sale of cannabis to anyone over the age of 21 after the Democrat-led Assembly and Senate officially gave the laws the go-ahead. Governor Murphy said the new measures will allows law enforcement to focus on ‘real public safety measures’. He said. ‘This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters. ‘The legislation further provides for the Legislature to reinvest cannabis revenues in designated ‘impact zones’; directs the CRC to promote diversity and inclusion in business ownership; and contains critical employment protections for people who engage in lawful behavior with respect to cannabis.’ One of the new laws that has been introduced has reformed penalties for low-level marijuana offenses. . The bill will ‘prevent low-level distribution and possession offenses from being used in pretrial release, probation, and parole decisions and provides certain protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and places of public accommodation’, the governor’s office said. Another piece of the approved legislation will enforce penalties for selling marijuana to those under 21. The marketplace legalization bill applies the state’s 6.625 percent sales tax, with 70 percent of the proceeds going to areas disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests. Also under the bill, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be able to levy a different tax, depending on the cost per ounce of cannabis, as another way of creating income from the sale of cannabis. There will be four levels of tax under the bill, ranging between $10 per ounce and $60 per ounce depending on the size of the initial sale. New Jersey has joined 14 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana. They are; Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

New Jersey legalizes marijuana, scraps criminal penalties for underage users


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy D wanted to legalize marijuana within his first 100 days in office. He succeeded three years later, and three months after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to make weed legal for adults. Murphy signed a series of laws Monday that decriminalized possession of up to six ounces of marijuana, creates a recreational marijuana marketplace for adults, and bars criminal penalties for people under 21 caught with either pot or alcohol. . Murphy quietly signed the bills Monday morning, right after the state Senate and Assembly passed the measure creating civil penalties for underage possession. The legislature had sent the other bills to Murphy in December, but he had declined to sign them until the youth penalties were ironed out. Murphy said he did not want young people, especially the young Black people disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, to get tangled up in our criminal justice system. He highlighted the criminal justice aspect of the legislation — and dropped in a weed pun — in a celebratory tweet Monday night. Once a new Cannabis Regulatory Commission is seated, it will have six months to set up rules and regulations and begin licensing recreational dispensaries. The cessation of marijuana arrests, decried by some police unions, should begin much quicker. Under the new law, minors caught with alcohol or marijuana will get written warnings, escalated to parental involvement and then community service for repeat violations.