New Jersey: Marijuana Not Quite Legalized Yet…It’s Still a Criminal Offense

TOMS RIVER, NJ –  New Jersey voters to legalize marijuana on Tuesday, but Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told residents don’t toke up just yet.

That’s because it could be several more months, perhaps even years for legislators to create a legal framework for the legalization.

“New Jerseyans approved an amendment to our State Constitution, legalizing regulated marijuana, referred to as “cannabis,” for those 21 or older,” Grewal said.  “The Amendment, which makes clear that it does not legalize unregulated marijuana, takes effect on January 1, 2021, and requires the Legislature to enact a law establishing a regulatory scheme for legal cannabis.”

Many in New Jersey feel that the referendum will allow a wholesale run on pot and pot-smoking on every corner, but that’s not exactly the way it works.  Legalized marijuana will look more like legalized tobacco and alcohol.  There will be government regulations, taxes and laws regulating the new industry.

” All of the State’s criminal laws relating to marijuana continue to apply, until, among other things, the Legislature enacts a law creating that regulatory framework,” Grewal said. “It is important that residents accurately understand the current situation, so they do not inadvertently engage in criminal conduct relating to marijuana – conduct that may be legal in the future once the Legislature acts, but is not presently legal based on yesterday’s vote. While my office will soon issue additional guidance for law enforcement and prosecutors to address this situation, we have reminded them of the broad discretion they already possess in handling low-level marijuana offenses.”