Will N.J. get legal weed this year?

Will N.J. get legal weed this year?

23 Haziran 2018 - 02:00

EDITOR'S NOTE: Interested in the marijuana business industry? NJ Cannabis Insider is a new premium intelligence briefing that features exclusive weekly content geared toward entrepreneurs, lawyers and realtors. View a sample issue.


By Payton Guion | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Shortly after Gov. Phil Murphy was elected, lawmakers said they wanted to get weed legalized in his first 100 days.

That deadline, at the end of April, came and went with little action.

Some lawmakers and advocates then set their sights on getting recreational marijuana passed by the end of June, when legislators traditionally take a summer break. It’s now looking like that deadline also will come and go.

As June 30 rapidly approaches, with little movement, it's becoming increasingly likely that legal weed will have to wait until later this year. Here's where things stand now.

NJCI Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge grows and sells medical cannabis
Andre Malok
The big, new legalization bill is dead

So far this year, two primary marijuana ideas have dominated discourse in New Jersey. The first is an expansion of the state's medical marijuana program, which Murphy called for earlier this year in an executive order. The other is legalizing the possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana for adults at least 21 years old, along with a regulated commercial market.

Earlier this month, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, a Union County Democrat who has been leading the push for legal weed, introduced a plan that tried to do both, upsetting lawmakers and advocates alike. It now appears that Scutari's plan is a non-starter.

Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, and three others familiar with efforts to push marijuana legalization through the Legislature said Scutari’s merged bill was not moving forward, as reported exclusively by NJ Cannabis Insider.

NJCI Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge grows and sells medical cannabis
Andre Malok | NJ Advance Media
But there's another legal weed bill in the mix

The same day he dropped the merged bill that's now dead, Scutari also introduced a separate legal weed bill. It called for up to 218 dispensaries, 98 of which would be medical dispensaries. It also allowed consumption lounges, places where people could use the weed they just bought.

This plan would also allow expungements for people with low-level marijuana crimes and aims to help people in areas disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests.



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