crime and punishment

Recreational marijuana now legal in New Jersey; Gov. Phil Murphy signs 3 bills

New Jersey is the most recent state in the United States to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana. On February 22, 2021, 56th New Jersey governor Phil Murphy, 63, signed three bills that launch a marijuana industry in his state.

There are currently 13 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout New Jersey. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) in the state will oversee the applications for licensing of cannabis businesses.

The bills recently signed by Murphy regulates the sale of cannabis in the state to residents over the age of 21, who are now allowed to possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana without legal consequence. In a statement obtained by ABC News, the governor said, “This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters.”


But if a police officer smells marijuana from an underage individual, it is now illegal for the officer to stop the minor. In such a situation, what the cop is allowed to do now is only to give out warnings.

“This language is anti-police rhetoric at its worst and its consequences will be real,” New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement obtained by Advance Local, “Underage users of marijuana will be free to smoke it anywhere, including in places the bill says is illegal, because merely stopping a person to enforce the law is now illegal for police.”

Including New Jersey, there are now 14 U.S. states that allow for the sale of recreational and medicinal marijuana. The other states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The District of Columbia also allows for the same. In Vermont, recreational marijuana is legal up to 1 oz (28 g) or yield of two mature plants only.

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