The Garden State is leafing out.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Monday signed laws legalizing the grownup use of leisure marijuana within the state, making good on a poll measure New Jersey voters handed by a wide margin in November.
In addition to legalizing adult-use and possession of as much as 6 ounces of hashish, the laws additionally creates a regulated market for its sale and restructures the penalties for underage marijuana use.
The query of learn how to deal with minors in possession threatened to derail Murphy’s approval, which got here simply hours earlier than the signing deadline.
State lawmakers initially proposed extra extreme prison and civil penalties, however relented after Murphy expressed misgivings concerning the low-level offense disproportionately affecting folks of coloration and unnecessarily funneling them into the prison justice system.
Under the brand new guidelines, underage marijuana and alcohol use shall be handled equally, and shall be topic to an escalating set of sanctions, beginning with a written warning and ending with a referral to substance abuse counseling.
The law additionally bans police from looking out underage people solely as a result of they detect an odor of marijuana.
In an emailed assertion, NORML, a marijuana coverage advocacy group, known as the event “long overdue,” noting that state and native police in New Jersey have filed more than 6,000 marijuana-related charges since voters there weighed in to legalize the drug.
“While we are pleased to see the will of New Jersey voters finally enshrined into approved legislation, it was a grotesque failure on the part of elected leadership that it took so long to do so,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri mentioned. “Despite nearly seven in ten New Jersey residents voting in favor of legalization on Election Day, it took lawmakers 111 days following that vote to achieve consensus to enact enabling legislation into law.”
An analysis of arrest statistics by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2020 discovered Black folks in New Jersey have been arrested for marijuana practically three and a half occasions extra typically than their white counterparts, regardless of related utilization.
And in 2018, an analysis of national arrest data by NJ.com discovered police within the state performed extra marijuana-related arrests per capita than 48 different states; solely Wyoming arrested extra.
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