Office of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy

 Recreational marijuana will finally become legal in New Jersey under three bills signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, more than three months after voters approved it by a two-to-one margin in the November election.

Monday’s actions mean police should immediately stop making arrests for small amounts of marijuana possession. But residents likely won’t be able to buy weed from a dispensary for six months, as state regulators begin the process of setting up the legal marketplace and awarding licenses.

Lawmakers in New Jersey have shaken up their legislative agenda for the rest of the week to accommodate what could be the final deal on legalizing recreational marijuana in the state.

Voters approved legal recreational marijuana in the November election, but lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy have yet to reach a compromise on bills that would set up the new market and revise penalties for underage possession.

After years of false starts, the New Jersey Legislature on Thursday passed a bill to set up the state’s budding recreational marijuana market.

The votes in both the state Senate and Assembly came less than two months after voters approved a state constitutional amendment legalizing the drug for personal use on the November ballot by a two-to-one margin.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, who sponsored the bill, said nothing he has done as a legislator will have a greater impact on residents.

When New Jersey voters opted to legalize recreational marijuana by a 2-to-1 margin last week, all that was left to do was set up the new marketplace.

But social justice advocates say they were dismayed by lawmakers’ first attempt at enabling legislation, which was pulled this week amid criticism.

“The bill that was introduced was an egregious, audacious, insidious white man money grab,” said Charles Boyer, director of the group Salvation and Social Justice and pastor of Bethel AME Church in Woodbury.

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Legalized marijuana is a big step closer to reality in New Jersey.

By about a 2-1 margin voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. Lawmakers must now set regulations for the industry and name a commission to oversee it.

Another amendment, delaying legislative redistricting if the federal government is late in getting census data to the state, also passed, as did extending a $250 property tax deduction to all veterans, even those who served in peacetime.

New Jerseyans casting their ballots in the general election will also get to weigh in on whether the state should legalize recreational marijuana.

If passed, the Garden State would join eleven other states and Washington, D.C. in having legal recreational cannabis.

Proponents tout the social justice benefits of legalization in a state where Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for possessing the drug than their white counterparts, according to the ACLU-NJ.

Black and Latino leaders in New Jersey say Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders are not doing enough to advance the cause of social justice in the state.

At an event Thursday in Trenton, a coalition of lawmakers and advocates called on the top Democrats to take up or sign several pieces of legislation they said would help black and Latino residents across the Garden State.

New Jersey lawmakers are moving ahead with legislation to make it easier for people with marijuana convictions to expunge their criminal records.

The bill, which was approved by both houses of the state Legislature on Tuesday, now awaits the signature of Gov. Phil Murphy.

What is not on Murphy’s desk is the companion legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, which failed to win enough support among lawmakers and was eventually abandoned by top Democrats in favor of putting the question before voters on the November 2020 election ballot.

A bill to greatly expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program cleared the state Senate Thursday. It now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.

The proposal would increase the maximum number of medical marijuana dispensaries, allow patients to buy larger quantities of the drug, and slowly phase out the sales tax on medical cannabis.

Although the bill passed easily, some lawmakers still raised doubts about the state’s medical marijuana program, which has been growing rapidly under Gov. Phil Murphy.

Legislative leaders in New Jersey canceled a scheduled vote Monday on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana, citing a lack of support from members.

State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said the Senate specifically did not have enough votes to pass the legislation, but the Assembly also called off its planned vote.

“I might’ve underestimated the challenge in getting this passed,” Sweeney said. “We’re postponing today. But that does in no way mean that we have failed or that we’re walking away from it.”

Two key committees in the New Jersey Legislature have approved bills to legalize recreational marijuana and allow past offenders to expunge their criminal records.

Gov. Phil Murphy and top Democrats in the Legislature have long agreed on legalization in principle but had been negotiating the details of such legislation for months.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee held votes on the two bills late Monday night, following hours of delays and last-minute amendments to the legislation.

Booker again introduces marijuana legalization bill

Mar 1, 2019

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has reintroduced legislation to legalize marijuana at the federal level.

The second-term Democrat said marijuana use is so common — even among politicians — that people should no longer go to prison for it.

“You have people being punished for doing things that two of the last three [U.S.] presidents admitted to doing,” Booker said Thursday on Facebook Live. “You have congresspeople and senators now wanting to admit their marijuana usage, at the same time that people are in jail for doing what they admitted.”

The Garden State has moved one step closer to legalizing the personal use of marijuana, following votes by two key legislative committees.

The Senate and Assembly Judiciary committees voted Monday to approve a bill that would legalize the adult use of one ounce or less of marijuana.

State Sen. President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said the bills would be posted for a full vote after top Democratic lawmakers worked out the details with Gov. Phil Murphy, who supports legalization.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says he’s hoping lawmakers will pass legislation by the end of the summer to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults.

Sweeney says he’s working with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on bills they can advance that would expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and make recreational pot use legal.

He says the medical bill will be tied to the recreational use measure and won’t move forward without it.

Governor Murphy’s nominee to be New Jersey’s Health Commissioner spend most of his confirmation hearing answering questions about the state’s marijuana policies.


Shereef Elnahal told lamakers than when a 60-day review ordered by the governor is completed, suggestions will be made to improve the state’s medical marijuana program.