Over time, many states throughout the country have come to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The state of New Jersey has been in the discussion of joining these other states in legalization. In 2020, these discussions may now turn into actual law.
2020 Ballot Question for Marijuana Legalization
In November of 2020, the state of New Jersey will bring the legalization of marijuana to a vote. This was made possible after super-majorities in the state Senate and Assembly approved putting a question on the ballot that would make its usage legal if it were to be approved. The decision was passed by 24-16 in the Senate and the Assembly voted 48-23 with one abstention.
If the vote is approved, anyone over 21 years old would be legally allowed to use marijuana in New Jersey. Sales would be overseen by a regulatory commission, purchases would be subject to the state’s sales tax, and host towns would be able to set their own levies of up to 2%. However, this change would not happen immediately, as the measure must return to the legislature first to make regulations.
Recent polls show 60% of voters are in favor of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. President of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, Scott Rudder, stated, “Now, we have a significant majority in both the Assembly and Senate. All polling has suggested that this is overwhelmingly supported by voters, so we expect a positive outcome in 2020.” However, he is also aware of the existing opposition to legalization. He followed up with, “But remember, there are those that are opposed to it and will spend a lot of money to try to defeat it.”
What are the Current Penalties Regarding Marijuana Possession in New Jersey?
While New Jersey may be heading towards a significant change in marijuana law, it is important to know that the recreational use of marijuana is still illegal within the state. Any violation of these laws can result in the following penalties:
- For possession of 50 grams or less, an offender can face a disorderly persons offense, up to 6 months of incarceration, and a $1000 fine
- For possession of more than 50 grams, an offender can face up to 1.5 years in jail as well as a possible $25,000 fine
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