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WIRE: Marijuana reform bills advance in New Jersey

Trenton, NJ: State lawmakers this week advanced a series of bills to regulate the adult use and medical cannabis markets, and to vacate past marijuana-related convictions.

On Monday, members of a 26-person joint committee moved Senate Bill 2703/Assembly Bill 4497 to the floor. The measure, entitled “The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act,” legalizes the personal possession and use of up to one ounce of cannabis by those age 21 or older, and establishes regulations governing the commercial production and retail sale of the plant. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, who campaigned on a pledge to legalize the adult use marijuana market, praised lawmakers for advancing the bill, although he has not yet endorsed the measure.

Members of the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Budget Appropriations Committee, along with members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee also voted Monday to advance Senate Bill 10 to expand patients’ access to medical cannabis. The measure facilitates the expansion of additional medical cannabis growers and providers, while also expanding the amount of cannabis a patient may legally purchase and possess. It further expands the pool of licensed health professional who may recommend medical cannabis, and shields registered patients from employment discrimination and the loss of child custody. It also phases out retail sales taxes on medical cannabis, among other changes. Separate language contained in Senate Bill 2426 to permit physicians to recommend cannabis to any patient for whom they believe it will benefit has also been incorporated into S. 10.

Legislators also moved a third bill, Senate Bill 3205/Assembly Bill 4498, which expands the pool of those eligible to have their convictions expunged by the courts.

For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

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