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P.L. 2021, c. 16, 19 & 25: With the swipe of a pen, Governor Murphy ushers in a new chapter for a legal weed industry in NJ and closes the book on certain criminal penalties

By: Cristina N. Hyde, JD

Earlier this week, New Jersey joined a dozen other states in legalizing marijuana for recreational use when Governor Murphy signed three new bills into law.  Altogether, the new legislation concerns the legalization and decriminalization of adult use cannabis.  The bills allow for purchase and sale at state-licensed dispensaries and ease penalties for certain offenses.  Separately, here are the highlights of each new law:

  • L.2021, c. 16: The “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” legalizes personal use marijuana, decriminalizes minor possession offenses, and removes marijuana as a schedule I drug. For a more in-depth discussion of its highlights, see our January 13, 2021 blog post, Assembly Bill No. 21:  The New Year Brings New Jersey New Rules for Marijuana Use and Possession.” 
  • L.2021, c. 19: This bill is predominantly focused on regrading and decriminalizing certain future marijuana and hashish distribution and possession offenses and reducing consequences for past offenses.
  • L.2021, c. 25: This bill largely focuses on underage consumption or possession of illegal marijuana and hashish as well as legalized cannabis products; setting up a progression of civil consequences such as written warnings and parental notification, confiscation of illegal items, and community service referrals.

While there are some lingering concerns regarding workplace safety and the ability to maintain a drug-free workplace in light of the new legislation, lawmakers and business owners hope that regulations promulgated by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission will address these concerns.  Meanwhile, this new legislation is being lauded as a step in the right direction for social justice reform.

If you have any questions as to how New Jersey’s new legal weed laws may affect your health care practice or business, please Contact Us.  Also, if you are interested in entering into the retail marijuana business in New Jersey, please join the Campanella Law Office in attending next week’s webinar, entitled “So You Want to be in Cannabis Retail in New Jersey?”,  presented by our Of Counsel attorney, Karen Wachs, Esq.  Register here.

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