New law sets the stage for automatic expungement
On Monday, in addition to referring legalization to voters, the New Jersey Legislature passed a reworked bill to expunge or seal thousands of past convictions, including marijuana charges. Just two days later, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law.
This new law removes a scarlet letter that has derailed countless lives. Marijuana convictions can make it difficult to get housing, jobs, professional licensing, and to further one’s education. With 62% of New Jersey voters supporting legalization, it is particularly nonsensical to haunt individuals for life for using cannabis.
S.4151 includes several improvements Gov. Murphy requested when he conditionally vetoed a prior version, along with a few tweaks from the legislature.
Among other changes, the new law will:
- Require the courts to implement an automatic sealing process for most marijuana offenses;
- Set up a task force to make recommendations on the automatic sealing process;
- Allow individuals who have completed their sentences for lower-level marijuana offenses to apply for and be granted expungement while awaiting automatic sealing;
- Remove fees for expungement; and
- Allocate $15 million for implementation.
For more details, check out this article.
This is an important step forward to improving New Jersey’s marijuana policies. But, more action is needed to bring justice to the Garden State’s marijuana laws. New Jersey can save 30,000 individuals the trauma of arrests between now and Election Day by decriminalizing marijuana in the lame duck session. Let lawmakers know you want them to stop the arrests.
Thank you for raising your voice for sensible, humane marijuana policies!
Today, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law. The bill is named after a pediatric cancer patient who passed away last year. Towards the end of Jake's fight, he relied on medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of the terrible disease. His family has since become advocates for medical marijuana reforms and helped spearhead this new law.
The new law will expand patient access to medical marijuana, by allowing more qualifying conditions and increasing the amount a patient can purchase in a month. It also creates a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission to govern the medical marijuana program. A summary of the changes can be found here.
While the legislature didn't manage to pass legalization this session, it's only matter of time. Support for changing marijuana laws is growing every day. Just last week, New Jersey state senators held a press conference calling for decriminalization and expungement reform. Together, we can bring about marijuana policy reform in New Jersey.
Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the legislature decided not to hold a vote on their marijuana legalization bill. It was determined that they did not have enough votes to pass the bill, and they chose to table the bill until they do.
While this is a disappointing setback, let's make sure it is only a temporary one. As Gov. Murphy said, "Justice may be delayed, but justice will not be denied."
If they don't support the bill, please consider reaching out further and asking for a meeting. If lawmakers don't hear from their constituents, they won't change their minds. If you are interested in setting up a meeting with your lawmaker, please email me at email@example.com, and I can help facilitate that and arm you with the best resources in support of ending marijuana prohibition.
So please, email your lawmakers and then spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family members.
As you may have heard, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced they have finally come to an agreement regarding the details of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. If leaders in the legislature believe they have the votes to pass the bill, they plan to hold a vote on March 25.
The votes aren't there yet for the bill to pass. It's time to change that: Lawmakers need to hear from constituents who support replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.
The legalization bill would:
- Allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana;
- Set up a process for expungement for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses;
- Establish a $42 tax per ounce on sales from cultivators; and
- Incentivize towns to allow marijuana businesses through local taxes.
The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees this Monday, March 18, where they will also hear bills on medical marijuana expansion.
Please email your elected officials to let them know you support ending marijuana prohibition. Then, forward this email to your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to New Jersey.
Ask the governor and Senate president to compromise on the details and bring legalization up for a vote!
As you may have heard, the New Jersey Legislature will not be voting on marijuana legalization before the year’s end. While there is political will to pass legalization in New Jersey, lawmakers couldn’t agree on the details — including a tax rate — this year.
If you're a New Jersey residernt, please call Gov. Phil Murphy at 609-292-6000 and Senate President Stephen Sweeney at 856-251-9801 and ask that they come to a compromise and bring legalization up for a vote early next year. Marijuana prohibition has cost New Jersey millions of dollars and ruined thousands of lives. It’s time for it to end.
In better news, New Jersey regulators recently doubled the number of medical marijuana dispensaries (“ATCs”) from six to a total of 12. Patients will soon have more access to purchase the medicine that they need.
But it’s important that New Jersey legalizes marijuana to further improve access to this life-saving plant. New Jersey’s medical cannabis law remains among the most restrictive in the nation, and it leaves behind most pain patients. Please, reach out to the governor and Senate president and ask that they work out the details to swiftly end marijuana prohibition. Then, spread the word to others in New Jersey who can raise their voices for humane marijuana policies.
While the new bill to legalize and regulate marijuana has not yet been revealed to the public, lawmakers and the Murphy administration are reportedly close to reaching a deal. However, it is not yet clear what the legislature intends to do to help people who are still suffering from the collateral consequences of a prior marijuana conviction.
If you’re a New Jersey resident, please ask your lawmakers to support not only ending marijuana prohibition for adults moving forward, but also ensuring that those harmed by prohibition in the past are able to clear their records and move on with their lives.
New Jersey has been hotly debating the best way to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis since Gov. Phil Murphy made that an important part of his campaign in 2017. MPP continues to advocate for adopting the best practices of other states to ensure that legalization allows opportunities for people impacted by marijuana prohibition and small businesses, and we’re encouraged that these ideas are reportedly being included in the legislation.
However, we want to continue fighting to include criminal justice reform as well. If you live in New Jersey, please help by asking your legislators to include strong expungement provisions now.
In partnership with the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association (NJCIA), the Marijuana Policy Project is bringing supporters together for a friendly golf competition at the Linwood Country Club in New Jersey as we ramp up legalization efforts statewide. Please join us just across the bay from Atlantic City as we bring policymakers, politicians, cannabis industry experts, and friends together for a round of golf followed by a cocktail reception on Sunday, July 15.
We are grateful to Gov. Phil Murphy for his commitment to ending marijuana prohibition in New Jersey. As a trusted leader in marijuana policy reform, MPP has worked on the front lines of changing marijuana policies and laws, both federal and state, for 23 years. Our event partner, the NJCIA, is the state’s largest nonprofit trade organization dedicated to advancing the legalization of cannabis through sensible policies that optimize the responsible growth and development of New Jersey’s cannabis industry.
FORMAT OF PLAY:
Better ball scramble
SCHEDULE FOR THE DAY:
1 p.m.: Afternoon Shotgun Start FOR GOLFERS ONLY
5-8 p.m.: Cocktail Reception and BBQ, Awards Ceremony and Program
Individual Golfer: $350 per person
Foursome: $1,400 per foursome
Cocktail Reception and BBQ ONLY: $125 per person
For sponsorship opportunities or for more information, please contact Dara Servis of the NJCIA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration fee for golfers includes food and beverages during the day and also includes the cocktail reception and barbecue at the al fresco bar and dining patio overlooking the course. Menus are created by the same legendary team behind the acclaimed Dock’s Oyster House, Knife and Fork Inn, and Harry’s Oyster Bar in Atlantic City.
Bally's Casino in Atlantic City
Number to call for room registration: (888) 516-2215
Group Name: NJCIA Room Block
Group Code: SB07NJ8 Bally's
For online booking, use this link.
New Jersey lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy agree that the state needs revenue to fund important priorities, such as improving the transit system, but disagree on how to get it. One thing leaders do agree on, however, is taxing the sale of cannabis: The Assembly and Senate budgets contain $69 million from marijuana taxes. That figure is more than could realistically be earned from medical cannabis sales tax alone, but is a small amount compared to what the state will eventually earn from taxing and regulating marijuana. However, this conservative projection makes sense given the time it will take to get adult-use sales up and running after the bill is passed.
It’s great that more and more lawmakers recognize that marijuana prohibition has failed, and that the state can benefit from taxing and regulating it. However, we want to urge lawmakers to ensure that the harms of prohibition are addressed in the legalization bill.
Asw. Annette Quijano, Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, recently held a hearing (at which MPP testified) on her bill to help do just that, by ensuring that people with a marijuana offense on their record will have meaningful access to expungement if New Jersey legalizes cannabis. Unfortunately, the current legalization bills do not go far enough.
If you are a New Jersey resident, please ask your lawmakers to support legalization and to ensure that New Jersey gives people an opportunity to benefit from legalization instead of continuing to be burdened with the collateral consequences of a criminal record.