New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Clean-Up Marijuana Bill To Resolve Governor’s Underage Concerns

MJ moment

A New Jersey Assembly committee on Friday approved a “clean up” bill intended to clear the way to implement the legalization of marijuana—the latest development on lawmakers’ rocky path to enact the cannabis referendum voters approved in November. Enabling legislation to create a regulated market was introduced and passed by the legislature shortly after last year’s vote, but Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said after the fact that opposed the lack of penalties for underage possession. Lawmakers attempted to resolve that with an earlier bill to address the youth possession issue, but a floor vote was cancelled after key legislators pulled their support. Now, it seems, there could be a new compromise. Under the latest proposal, adults 18 to 20 would face a $50 fine for possession of up to one ounce of cannabis, and a $100 fine for more than that amount. Those under 18 would not not be subject to the civil penalty but would be given a warning. What does this clean-up bill do? It clarifies consequences and reduces contact with the criminal legal system for youth, including: A $50 fine for possessing 1 oz or less + $100 for more than 1 oz or any use for youth aged 18-20Warnings and interventions for youth under 18 — ACLU of New Jersey (@ACLUNJ) January 29, 2021 These are lower penalties compared to the last compromise bill, and the new version seems to have to support of advocates such as the ACLU of New Jersey. But its fate in the full Assembly, the Senate and at Murphy’s desk are not clear at this point. The new legislation would also form a task force charged with making recommendations to the governor and lawmakers on “law enforcement activities to address the enforcement of underage possession or consumption of marijuana, hashish, or…

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