The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S2703 and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A4497 on Monday
Statement below from the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization
TRENTON, N.J. — A proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older advanced in the New Jersey Legislature Monday. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S2703, sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari, (7-2-4), and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, (6-1-2). The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote. Gov. Phil Murphy has expressed strong support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.
The amended version of the legislation:
If the bill passes this year, New Jersey will be the first state to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis via the legislature. Such laws have been adopted by voters via ballot initiatives in nine states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Lawmakers in Vermont and voters in Washington, D.C. have adopted laws making marijuana possession and cultivation legal for adults, but they do not give non-patients anywhere to buy it.
Statement from Kate M. Bell, general counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project:
“New Jersey is one step closer to replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation. Arresting adult cannabis consumers is a massive waste of law enforcement officials’ time and resources, and it does nothing to improve public health or safety. Prohibition forces marijuana sales into the underground market, where it is impossible to control them. Under the proposed regulated system, businesses will be governed by strict rules, and authorities will be empowered to make sure those rules are being followed.”
“We are encouraged by the ongoing discussion about how best to address the history of racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws. By streamlining the expungement process, the state can help ensure people with criminal records for marijuana-related offenses get a clean slate. Nobody should be branded a criminal simply for using a substance that is less harmful than alcohol.”