New Jersey residents voted to legalize marijuana. What happens next and when?
New Jersey voters have paved the way for legalized recreational marijuana use. But there is still a way to go before New Jerseyans will be allowed to legally partake.
Supporters of the measure say that legalized marijuana will benefit social justice reform, unburden local law enforcement and bring a large amount of revenue to municipalities across the state.
It is now up to state lawmakers to determine how legalized cannabis will work in New Jersey.
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“Right now, you have a constitutional amendment saying this can happen. But there’s no rules,” says former state Assemblyman John Wisniewski. “The tax situation hasn’t been addressed. Where you can put them hasn’t been addressed. Rules of how they will be run hasn’t been addressed.”
Wisniewski also says that officials will have to figure out license procedures and who can get them to sell or grow marijuana.
Other issues to work out is if there will be amnesty for those with prior pot convictions, and how will the marijuana supply be grown in New Jersey.
“There are lots of small details, but a legion of advocates, attorneys, interest groups working on all of these issues for months. They are all ready to hit the ground running,” Wisniewski says.
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Officials say that public input and public involvement will be encouraged as the legislators work out the details.
“If you are thinking about being involved in the industry, if you are an advocate for it – recognize first that it must go through a legislative process and that’s a citizen participation process,” Wisniewski says. “Talk to your legislature about what you want to see. Have your voice heard.”
The former assemblyman says that there is no way to predict how quickly legislation can be put into place, approved and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy. But he says that he does not think that it will take years as it has in other states.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal reminded state residents on Wednesday that marijuana is currently still illegal to possess and that the amendment doesn’t authorize “unregulated marijuana” use.