During the Nov. 3, 2020 election, New Jersey residents had the chance to vote on the state's marijuana legalization ballot amendment. The results found that 67.08 percent of constituents supported legalization.
Shortly after the vote, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy put the bill on the fast-track by developing a Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Voters support marijuana decriminalization in NJ
Since the referendum, Murphy has managed to reach a deal with legislators to develop a framework for the bill moving forward. That's a huge leap forward, and it goes well beyond the wishy-washy steps the state has taken in the past.
Details on the NJ marijuana decriminalization bill
We did it, New Jersey!— Phil Murphy (@PhilMurphyNJ) November 4, 2020
Public Question #1 to legalize adult-use marijuana passed overwhelmingly tonight, a huge step forward for racial and social justice and our economy. Thank you to @NJCAN2020 and all the advocates for standing on the right side of history.
The bill's name is Senate Concurrent Resolution 183 (SCR 183). In a panel, Murphy said, "Am I excited about a new impulse on the economy, about the potential for revenues for the state, about job creation? You betcha'. But if we get one thing right, it's got to be equity."
Despite his excitement, there are still some crucial steps Murphy must make before anything is official. One of those steps is dropping all new marijuana possession charges that are still pending. This will adhere with the new limitations of six ounces of cannabis per adult.
Murphy will also need to address whether or not to expunge prior cannabis convictions throughout the state.
As for who's leading the charge, Murphy has appointed a Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Her name is Dianna Houenou.
When can NJ residents buy recreational weed?
The SCR 193 law will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. However, the bill only allows the recreational use of regulated cannabis, which means products can only be bought from New Jersey dispensaries.
As a result, residents must wait for the development of distribution infrastructure, which could take at least a year to get rolling. It takes this long because of all the steps involved in the process, which starts with stuff like business applications and ends with final distribution. Fortunately, the state already has a medical marijuana program in place, which will likely speed up the process.
Here's where to buy marijuana in NJ when the time comes
Surely, dispensaries are ready to get started with the process. However, breaking compliance can result in detrimental fees and consequences for cannabis industry players. It's a fickle game, one where cash rules everything (because many banks fear loaning to and working with these types of companies).
Stay on the lookout for dispensaries progressing in the state of New Jersey.
How to get medical marijuana in NJ
While you still have to wait for access to regulated recreational cannabis in New Jersey, you can apply for a medical marijuana card.
If you want to take this step, visit the state's Division of Medical Marijuana. In order to do so, you need to develop a relationship with an approved physician who is registered within the program. You also must have one of the approved debilitating medical conditions, which include (but are not limited to:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Opioid Use Disorder
- HIV and AIDS
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Terminal illness with prognosis of less than 12 months to live
- Tourette Syndrome
To see a full list of conditions, visit the patient portal.