Though many attempts have been made to legalize adult-use and recreational marijuana in New Jersey, it is only legal for medical purposes, so it is still possible to be arrested for smoking marijuana. Last summer, Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey lawmakers took steps to revive laws to make marijuana legal. The efforts focus on recreational and medical marijuana bills, and records expungement of some state residents with previous convictions.
Medical Marijuana Reforms
Assembly Republicans claimed that the state should have passed medical marijuana expansion rules a long time ago, since the program does not have enough dispensaries and is costly for patients. Gov. Murphy and The New Jersey Department of Health made nine changes that were intended to expand medical marijuana access for New Jersey residents.
These new rules are now in effect, and include reduced registration fees for patients, caregivers, military veterans, and seniors. Other changes include the addition of different forms of medical marijuana, such as oil-based formulations, and additional eligible debilitating medical conditions, such as Opioid Use Disorder and migraines. Patients may also benefit from streamlined processes for paperwork and supply chains.
The Marijuana and Vaping Summit
Gov. Murphy recently attended a summit with other Democratic governors in nearby states to work on marijuana and vaping regulations. Their goal is to create similar laws for neighboring states where people cross borders every day; it would allow them to purchase products in one state and take them to another legally. The topic of vaping was also discussed, particularly its hazards and the recent deaths and illnesses attributed to its use. Gov. Murphy recommend banning flavored vaping products in New Jersey.
Bills, Polls, and an Upcoming Vote
The first bill to legalize adult-use marijuana was introduced in May 2017 but was opposed by then-Governor Chris Christie. Even though Gov. Murphy supports its legalization and expungement for those convicted of marijuana-related offenses, the New Jersey Senate has not been able to change the law. Murphy supports bill S-3205, which would change how criminal records are expunged. The bill would apply to individuals for up to 10 years after they completed parole, probation, or were released, whichever was last completed. The bill did not pass.
It is expected that New Jersey lawmakers will vote on marijuana laws between November and January, although the exact legislation has not been determined as of yet. It could include a referendum on next year’s ballot to ask voters to make the choice, or a proposed legalization law. If and when it does pass, it would take six months to a year for the regulatory process to become finalized.
Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Help Clients Facing Drug Charges
If you are facing criminal charges for marijuana use or possession, contact a knowledgeable South Jersey drug possession lawyer at Aita Law, LLC. Our experienced staff is well-versed on the changing laws and will fight to protect your rights. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.