Following an overwhelming vote pushing for recreational cannabis sales in November, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission held its first public meeting Monday to discuss next steps and establish regulations to open the recreational market, according to a statement from Governor Phil Murphy.
Governor Murphy said in February that he thinks implementing the measure will take at least six months. Certain elements of the bill took effect immediately, including the decriminalization of cannabis possession and being under the influence of cannabis. However, the state’s new Cannabis Regulatory Commission must oversee both the adult-use and medical cannabis markets as well as develop rules to enforce the distribution of licenses for dispensaries and cultivators.
Existing medical dispensaries can sell recreational cannabis products under the new law, but many do not have the supply to sell recreational cannabis and meet the needs of the state’s currently registered patients.
New Jersey became the 15th state to approve cannabis for recreational use, and the legalization comes after years of efforts from Governor Murphy and other New Jersey lawmakers. Voters approved the constitutional amendment in November 2020 by a 2-to-1 margin, lawmakers soon after passing the legislation and finally signing the bill into law in February.
“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years, I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Maintaining a status quo that allows tens-of-thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible,” Governor Murphy said in a February statement.
The governor continued, “… Although this process has taken longer than anticipated, I believe it is ending in the right place and will ultimately serve as a national model.”
The meeting was held virtually at 2 p.m. ET Monday. The public was able to view the meeting on the commission’s website.