With Phil Murphy’s election as governor, marijuana legalization is all but certain in New Jersey.
Excerpt from Patch.com Article By Tom Davis (Patch Staff)
Will you be able to buy pot at your local convenience store? Hard to say, but Democrat Phil Murphy’s victory in the governor’s race Tuesday means that marijuana legalization is a practical certainty in New Jersey.
Since Murphy made marijuana legalization a central part of his platform in Tuesday’s election, there will likely be a way to purchase it somehow, someway in New Jersey possibly by late next year. Legislation could be passed by April.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney says his goal was to get a pot legalization measure passed within 100 days of the Murphy administration. Murphy, who defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, will be sworn-in on Jan. 16, 2018.
The man who sponsored the legislation to legalize marijuana, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, told reporters this week that Murphy’s election means “it’s full-steam ahead” on the measure.
“We should begin the process of shaping our marijuana laws now so that we are prepared to move forward with the best program for our state,” said Scutari.
Outgoing Gov. Chris Christie opposed marijuana legalization, as did Guadagno, because of fears that it could be a gateway for harder drugs.
But Sweeney disputes that, and says the state could benefit from the taxes drawn from an estimated $1.3 billion industry. He emphasized the importance of looking at how other states have gone through the legalization process, and make sure the procedure is safe and effective in New Jersey
“It’s about jobs,” Sweeney said. “It’s about creating jobs. This is an industry that’s in its infant stage and we have the benefit of learning all the mistakes that everyone else has done.”
“To say this will have a huge impact on the New Jersey Criminal Justice System is putting it mildly. Not only is marijuana possession one of, if not the most common criminal charges in our State, but its illegality plays a very large role in other arrests and charges. The odor of marijuana is one of the most often utilized reasons to search a car and/or a person, and that premise will certainly be effected, if not eliminated. Although the legality will greatly reduce many charges, it will likely increase arrests for DWI based upon alleged marijuana use. Police currently charge for that offense, but it is very difficult to prove and not charged in some cases for that reason. That will likely change upon legalization.”
– Moorestown Criminal Defense Attorney Tim Farrow
Just don’t expect pot to be sold in stores by April. Kate Bell, legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C., told nj.com that the regulatory process could take at least six months, and then the licensing process is another six months after the legislation is passed. That schedule could move a lot more quickly if medical marijuana dispensaries are allowed to meet the demand.
Not everyone is likely to jump on the pot bandwagon, however. Not everyone is expected to get a license to sell, according to NJBIZ, and a number of businesses may not be willing to deal with the industry since, technically, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
The Obama administration chose largely not to enforce the federal statutes, but the Trump administration could treat the issue differently.
Read the full article at Philly.com: https://patch.com/new-jersey/collingswood/s/ga25a/nj-pot-legalization-expected-soon-what-you-need-to-know
Tim Farrow, of Dash Farrow, LLP, is an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor who handles South Jersey criminal defense matters of any kind.
If you need experienced, focused, and responsive legal help today: Call Dash Farrow, LLP at 856-235-8300 or Contact Us Here.
We serve individuals and businesses throughout Burlington and Camden County, and all of South Jersey.