As spotted on The Gothamist New Jersey has decriminalized cannabis. Legislation has been in discussion for several years but failed to get approved to be a law not once but twice in 2019. On Monday, February 22 Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills that permit the use of the drug throughout the territory. In addition to being able to partake in the drug, establishments will be able to legally sell it to customers who are preapproved by medical professionals.
While the news is welcomed by enthusiasts this new ruling comes with some strict swim rails. According to the formal press release citizens are allowed to keep up to six ounces on their person and can smoke it in private places like their homes. Legally purchasing it will take some time though as state officials estimate it will take six or more months to establish the policy and regulations for dispensaries to set up shop. Additionally New Jersians are not permitted to grow the plants.
Also police officers are now being instructed to pivot away from searching locals solely based on the smell of marijuana. The only caveat is that lawmen and lawwomen are able to stop a vehicle if they believe the occupant is operating it under the supposed influence of the drug. This modification to the rule is viewed as a game changer when it comes to minimizing racial profiling. “The smell has been indicative of potential illegal activity. But we can’t jump to that conclusion” Freehold criminal defense attorney Richard Lomurro told The Asbury Park Press. “They have to give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re using it legally. And they can’t jump to the conclusion, which they’ve jumped to for years, that cash plus weed equals drug dealer.”
You can read the new bill here.