New Jersey Governor Signs Cannabis Legalization Bills Into Law
The Feb. 22 signing came after weeks of back-and-forth in the state legislature, and, ultimately, after years of debate in New Jersey over how to accomplish this goal.
February 22, 2021
. Eric Sandy
News State by State: New Jersey
Following New Jersey voters’ approval of a constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use cannabis last fall, Gov. Phil Murphy today signed legislation to do just that. The Feb. 22 signing of three separate bills came after weeks of back-and-forth in the state legislature, and, ultimately, after years of debate in New Jersey over how to accomplish this goal.
“This process may have had its fits and starts, but it is ending in the right place. And, I firmly believe, this process has ended in laws that will serve as a national model,” Murphy said.
One of the last hurdles to clear in today’s "cleanup bill," A5342, was the approach to law enforcement when dealing with underage cannabis possession, part of a broader intention to pass decriminalization legislation alongside the implementation of a regulatory regime. The debate over that bill lasted until just before Murphy’s 12 p.m. ET deadline to act on related cannabis legalization bills. State legislators landed on a cleanup bill today that sets up a written warning and community service policy for underage possession, rather than punitive civil penalties. (For those 21 and older, possession of up to six ounces is now legal, a critical step toward the amelioration of the long-standing war on drugs.)