New Jersey Committees Pass Legislation to Legalize Marijuana

New Jersey’s Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees approved legislation today that would make marijuana legal for everyone at least 21 years old.

By a vote of seven to two, with four members abstaining, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved Senate Bill 2703 today, which is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari. Also today, the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved Assembly Bill 4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, by a vote of six to one, with two members abstaining. The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote; passage in both chambers would send the legisaltion to Governor Murphy, who made legalization one of his top platforms during his successful election campaign last year.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the legislation:

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New Jersey Governor Signs Hemp Bill Into Law

New Jersey legislation to create a hemp pilot program has been signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Assembly Bill 1330, signed into law today by Governor Murphy, “directs the Department of Agriculture to create an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program that promotes the study and cultivation of hemp to the maximum extent permitted by federal law.” The measure was passed by the Assembly in June, unanimously (67 to 0), and was passed by the Senate in September, 33 to 2.

The law states that “The department may partner with any qualified institution of higher education to administer the program; however, any person participating in the program must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Agriculture that the person has complied with all federal requirements related to the cultivation of industrial hemp.”

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New Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This Month Says Senate President and Assembly Speaker

New Jersey lawmakers will vote later this month to advance legislation that would legalize marijuana, says Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney.

On Wednesday at the state League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Atlantic City Coughlin said he has enough in committee to pass a measure that would legalize marijuana for everyone 21 and older. Speaking after Coughlin, Sweeney said he agrees with Coughlin’s timeline, but noted that he needs help from Governor Murphy to lobby votes; Murphy made legalizing marijuana one of his primary platforms in his successful run for governor last year, evening going as far as vowing to legalize marijuana in his first 100 days (a timeline which has passed, though most people don’t hold it against him as he’s continued to make it a key issue).

“The only way something like this gets passed legislatively is if all three of us work together,” said Sweeney. “If [the governor is] not going to lobby any votes for us then it won’t get done.”

Read moreNew Jersey Lawmakers to Vote on Marijuana Legalization This Month Says Senate President and Assembly Speaker

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Says State May Legalize Marijuana by the End of the Month

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) says state lawmakers may vote on marijuana legalization on October 29.

Governor Phil Murphy“We’ve had good exchanges with both the legislative leadership sponsors and, most importantly, the teams in the trenches crafting this,” Murphy said during a recent live Facebook interview in which he was asked about legalizing marijuana . “I think it’s sooner than later.”

Murphy says that based on current discussions and support, having a vote on October 29 “feels about right.” The two things that may potentially delay a vote is a debate on marijuana taxes (Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he won’t support anything higher than 12%, while some have argued for as high as 25%), and disagreement about which regulatory body should oversee the legal marijuana industry.

Read moreNew Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Says State May Legalize Marijuana by the End of the Month

New Jersey Senate Committee Passes Hemp Bill

A hemp legalization bill has been passed by a key Senate committee in New Jersey.

The Senate Economic Growth Committee passed Senate Bill 2491 today, sending it towards a vote by the full Senate. A companion bill to this measure, Assembly Bill 1330, was passed unanimously through the Assembly (67 to 0) in June.

According to its official text, SB 2491 “establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.” The bill also “establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.”

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New Jersey Adds Five New Medical Marijuana Conditions, Reduces Patient Fee

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced today that the state is expanding their medical marijuana program to include five new conditions that qualify an individual to legally use the medicine.

Governor Murphy announced the expansion the same day as a governor-appointed task force recommended he do so. The conditions being added are migraines, anxiety, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, chronic visceral pain, and Tourette’s syndrome. Governor Murphy also announced that the fee to become a medical marijuana patient is being reduced from $200, to $100, or $20 for veterans and seniors.

“We are changing the restrictive culture of our medical marijuana program to make it more patient-friendly,” says Murphy. “We are adding five new categories of medical conditions, reducing patient and caregiver fees, and recommending changes in law so patients will be able to obtain the amount of product that they need. Some of these changes will take time, but we are committed to getting it done for all New Jersey residents who can be helped by access to medical marijuana.”

Read moreNew Jersey Adds Five New Medical Marijuana Conditions, Reduces Patient Fee

New Poll Finds 59% of New Jersey Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continues to advocate for legalizing marijuana, new polling  shows that a strong majority of voters in the state are behind him on the issue.

“Voters support 59 – 37 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use”, states a press release from Quinnipiac University, who conducted the poll. “Support is 63 – 33 percent among men and 55 – 41 percent among women. White voters support legalized marijuana 58 – 39 percent, with non-white support at 60 – 35 percent. ”

The Quinnipiac University Poll found that only “9 percent of Garden State voters say they would definitely try marijuana if it were legal, while 13 percent say they would probably try; 18 percent say they would probably not try legal marijuana and 58 percent say they definitely would not try it.”

Read moreNew Poll Finds 59% of New Jersey Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

New Jersey Assembly Committee Votes to Legalize Hemp

A legislative proposal to legalize hemp in New Jersey has been passed by its initial committee.

Assembly Bill 1330 was passed today by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. According to its official text; “This bill establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.” The bill also “establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.”

The proposal defines industrial hemp as “an agricultural product that is part of the plant of any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis, and that is permitted pursuant to this act to be planted, grown, harvested, possessed, processed, distributed, bought, or sold by a person licensed pursuant to section 3 of this act.”

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9 States Have Legalized Cannabis – Here Are the 5 States Most Likely to Become #10

Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have all legalized marijuana, and Vermont’s Legislature just approved a bill to join this list. Which state will be #10?

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 10th state in the U.S. to do so (which would make 20% of the entire country).

Read more9 States Have Legalized Cannabis – Here Are the 5 States Most Likely to Become #10

New Jersey Officials Approve Adding Five New Medical Cannabis Conditions

New Jersey officials have given approval to the addition of five new medical conditions to the state’s medical cannabis program.

sugar cookieNew Jersey’s Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel voted this week to allow the medical use of cannabis for those with migraines, anxiety, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic pain related to internal organs.

Although the panel was in strong support of allowing individuals with these conditions to become legal medical cannabis patients, State Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett has the final say. She now has up to 180 days to respond; she has the option of approving all five conditions, approving some of the five, or not approving any of them.

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