N.J. lawmakers advance dual decriminalization and regulatory bills after successful ballot initiative

Nov 10, 2020

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Ask your state lawmakers to support legalization, not just decriminalization, immediately, and to improve the regulatory bills!

Exciting news! Yesterday, key legislative committees advanced two decriminalization measures and two bills to implement legalization and regulation of cannabis.

These come less than a week after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. The referendum does not take effect until January 1, 2021, and it requires legislative action.

If you agree that lawmakers should immediately legalize simple possession, and that the legislature should prioritize an inclusive industry, you can let them know here.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to revise two different decriminalization bills — S. 2535 and A. 1897 — to mirror one another and advance them to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. The revised language has not been published yet. MPP favored the language of S. 2535, which we believed was a more comprehensive and sensible approach. A. 1897 applied to far less cannabis — only 10 grams — it had other serious limitations.

However, MPP is also strongly encouraging that both bills be amended to legalize, not just decriminalize, possession of at least of an ounce immediately.

We know that without immediate action, thousands of New Jerseyans will have their lives turned upside down by cannabis possession arrests.

Also yesterday, the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance mirror bills that would create the regulatory structure of New Jersey’s legal market. A. 21 and S. 21, both entitled the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act,” were referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, respectively. While we support many provisions of the bill, we do have several suggestions and urge more to be done to ensure a diverse, equitable industry.

A. 21 is scheduled for a public hearing this Thursday, November 12 at 10:30 a.m. before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. S. 21 is scheduled for a public hearing this Thursday, November 12 at 1:00 p.m. before the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee

Although the Capitol remains closed to the public, you can still register to provide written or oral testimony on A. 21 by signing up to testify by 3:00 p.m. today (November 10) or on S. 21 by signing up to testify by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, November 11.

To go the extra mile, considering writing your state Assemblyperson and Senator or making an appeal on Twitter or social media.

After you take action, please spread the word to others so they can make their voices heard as well.