TOMS RIVER, NJ – If you were planning a New Year’s Eve pot party, the likes of one never before seen in the state of New Jersey to celebrate the legalization of marijuana, think again.
When will marijuana be legal in New Jersey?
That’s because state officials, including Governor Phil Murphy announced the first grim reality of what legalized marijuana will look like…a bureaucratic quagmire of red tape, regulations and yes, taxes that have to first be decided upon by the state legislator before the first legal toke of a joint can be enjoyed by the masses.
So those joints you bought from your local supplier will not be legal on January 1st, or probably ever. Instead, you will have to purchase your marijuana from a legally licensed vendor that has navigated through years of rules, regulations and certifications from the state and pay your ‘fair and equitable’ share of taxes on that purchase.
Fear not! Governor Murphy has already assembled a team of suits that will guide the process, appointing Dianna Houenou as Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and Jeff Brown will serve as Executive Director of the Commission.
“Jeff’s leadership overseeing the state’s Medicinal Marijuana program has contributed greatly to our efforts to expand access to those who need it,” continued Governor Murphy. “He will bring the same integrity, care, and expertise that have led to the success of our Medicinal Marijuana program to his new role as Executive Director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, where he will play a key role in establishing our recreational marijuana marketplace.”
That’s right, there will be a government-operated medical marijuana marketplace for New Jerseyans to buy their pot from.
The idea of owning your own pot plants or a backyard pot farm, which is the visualization many had when voting for this ballot referendum…isn’t going to happen.
This week Murphy announced it may be deep into 2021 or possibly 2022 before the framework is in place by the state to allow for the sale of recreational marijuana. Until then possession and use of marijuana from a non-licensed state-approved vendor is a crime, Murphy reminded residents.
“And as a reminder, until we enact that enabling legislation, recreational marijuana remains illegal under our state law, as Attorney General Gurbir Grewal noted yesterday. Yet, as the Attorney General also noted, both prosecutors and law enforcement have very broad discretion to handle low-level marijuana offenses,” the Governor said.