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New Jersey Legalizes Cannabis – Bill Passes

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New Jersey police will now break off arresting individuals who are 21 years old and above for possessing marijuana, four months after the state voted to legalize cannabis.

On February 22, 2021, New Jersey legalized recreational marijuana and became the latest US state to take this step. Marijuana became legal after Governor Phil Murphy inscribed bills that allow adult-use marijuana in the state.

This inscription comes more than four months after the USs election day when the New Jersey residents voted overwhelmingly to allow recreational weed legalization.

Like other US states, the New Jersey officials consider this legal step a criminal justice reform.

New Jersey Legalizes Recreational Weed

Finally, the Garden State has legalized recreational weed.

New Jerseys Governor Phil Murphy inscribed bills last month that legalized recreational weed. This step followed a failed bid to legalize marijuana for personal use in this states legislature. This move comes after disputes over the new systems look and a state ballot question that voters approved overwhelmingly.

The latest approved bill comes with strict stipulations, but it also revolves around community outreach. It has a new strategy that will promote a regulated marijuana marketplace, creating employment and reinvesting cash into the community.

But, what does it mean that New Jersey legalizes cannabis? Several aspects of the new paradigm – from past convictions expungement to the policing implications to the legal marketplace  – remain hazy.

Keep reading for more details about New Jersey recreational cannabis legalization!

New Jersey Legalizes Cannabis – The New Paradigm 

Now you can possess six ounces or fewer of recreational weed and use it privately if youre 21 years old and above. Therefore, you cant face criminal charges if the police find you with this amount.

However, its still not technically legal for you to buy/sell marijuana. Selling and buying recreational marijuana will become legal after the New Jersey officials write down rules and award businesses with licenses that will allow them to run the business.

As per Dianna Houenou (New Jersey Marijuana Regulatory Commission incoming chair), residents are likely to start walking into recreational cannabis dispensaries and buy marijuana in 2022. However, she says that the current medical cannabis operators with retail infrastructure are likely to begin recreational weed sales earlier if they meet each patients demands.

Dianna Houenou argues that the law allows these medical operators to serve the entire community relying on recreational marijuana. However, Dianna Houenou and many more state regulators need to decide the recreational weed products to allow in this state and the applicants that should get the licenses.

The recreational weed business community is more than prepared to start selling the products. As per Edmund DeVeaux (New Jersey Marijuana Business Association president), the recreational weed business community is prepared for the coming day.

As per the bills, six different sectors under the weed economy will get licenses. These sectors include delivery, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers and cultivators. Also, the state will provide permits to microbusinesses consisting of 10 or fewer workers.

Recreational Marijuana Legalization Rules

Besides allowing those who are 21 years old and above to use recreational marijuana, the legislators also agreed to unfasten the punishment for minors found with cannabis and alcohol. Currently, underage drinking carries a penance of six months in prison and up to $1000.

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However, the new legislation demands that the minor receive a written warning when found with cannabis and alcohol. Repeated offenses increase rapidly, ranging from community service referrals to parental notification.

Moreover, the new legislation does not allow towns to authorize fines to include more punishments for minors found with alcohol/cannabis or enact civil penalties laws.

In the cannabis sales case, New Jerseys latest 6.625% sales tax works on all transactions. Moreover, 70% of the tax proceeds will go to help individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis-related arrests. The new rules also allow towns to levy a tax that doesnt exceed 2%.

As of today, New Jersey remains to be the US state with the highest marijuana-related arrest numbers (over 300,000 marijuana-related arrests). Black residents have higher chances of facing marijuana-related charges. As per Murphy, the new rules aim to promote equity.

Murphy argues that the new legislation will create a marijuana market that promotes community-related economic and equity opportunities. He says that the new rules will establish minimum standards for safe weed products and allow law enforcement to direct their resources to public safety-related matters.

As per the Governors office, the judiciary matters will no longer use previous minor cannabis offenses. The new rules will prevent the distribution of low-level marijuana products and parole decisions, probation and pretrial release from using cannabis possession offenses.

Moreover, the new legislation provides specific protections against employment discrimination, housing discrimination and public accommodation discrimination.

Cleanup Bill’s Penalties

Any individual between 18 and 20 years old found with marijuana products in a public place, school, or motor vehicle will pay a fine ranging from $50 to $250.

Any individual between 18 and 20 years old found with marijuana/cannabis-s product in a public place, school or motor vehicle and consumed it knowingly will pay a fine ranging from $100 to $500.

However, any minor below 18 years old and found with marijuana/cannabis products will not incur the civil penalty. Instead, these minors will get a stationhouse adjustment or curbside warning, allowing a law enforcement agency to handle the violation without involving formal court proceedings.

The law enforcement agency will also demand these minors to participate in a treatment program or drug/alcohol abuse education program.

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The new legislation allows the stationhouse adjustment to create one/more conditions that the involved minors need to meet to interchange the enforcement body that declines to handle the formal delinquency complaint.

While recreational cannabis/marijuana delays remained, the February 22, 2021 legislation inscription came as the last-ditch course of action to ensure Murphys support and approval. 

As per Shaya Brodchandel (Harmony Dispensary CEO), they have long promoted the adult-use marijuana effort in the Garden state and welcome the historic marijuana legislation.

He continues to argue that their primary goal now lies in ensuring the patient community remains safe and adequate marijuana supply exists for the Garden states 100,000 medical marijuana patients.

So, what next? Enroll in one of the courses offered by the leading cannabis college, Cannabis Training University and learn more about cannabis laws.



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Election 2022

America hits 21 legalization states after midterm election

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America officially reached 21 legalization states Tuesday night, after a thrilling, surprising midterm election that added Maryland and then Missouri to the green team.

More than 12 million Americans in those states became equal to their countrymen and women in 19 other states where marijuana freedom rings. That’s 6.168 million Missourians and 6.165 million Marylanders out of the disastrous, 85-year-old war on marijuana.

Maryland won early Tuesday night with 65% of the vote. Missouri followed later with a strong 53% of the vote after 89% of precincts reporting. Citizens voted by mail and in person.

Five states had cannabis initiatives on the ballot, and Colorado voted on psychedelics legalization. Here’s the Day 2 breakdown:

Legalization measures failed in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota, but furthered debate in the deeply red states. Arkansas’ measure in particular drew the ire of cannabis activists for limiting home growing, and other restrictions.

Weedy victories access the land

A slew of good news greeted America’s majority for legalization. Pro-pot Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman clinched the win over Dr. Oz for the crucial Senate seat.

Meanwhile, more than two dozen California cities and counties voted on implementing legalization, 4 years after sales began. Americans returned staunchly pro-weed governors Gavin Newsom (California) and J.B. Pritzker (Illinois) to their seats. Five cities in Texas also decriminalized weed.

US House and Senate

The smoke’s still clearing on the battle for the US House and Senate. As of press time, the Senate looked almost tied, while Republicans also seemed set to have a near tie in the House. Republican gains proved far narrower than anticipated. The red wave amounted to a red meh.

What does the 2022 midterm elections mean for weed?

Marijuana freedom took another halting step forward Tuesday, but the path ahead requires grit. A legal Missouri and Maryland, a staunchly pro-cannabis Pennsylvania Senator Fetterman adds fuel to the fire of federal reform.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans a SAFE Banking Plus bill for the lame duck. Republicans had already signed off on SAFE. The idea of more radical bills seem further off.

Reform will accelerate in the states. For example, New York’s recreational store roll-out will be the story of the winter break.

Meanwhile, California leaders aim to trade with other legalization states in the near-term, not long term.

State and local California officials plan to issue more licenses faster, cut red tape and taxes, and crack down on the illicit trade. Tuesday night votes could add 150 new licenses in the coming years, MJBiz Daily estimates.

Newly legal Missouri and Maryland harbor a 12.4M-person population. Those two cannabis markets alone consume about 350 metric tons of weed a year, based on survey data. At full legalization, that weight might equal $770M in crop value for those two states, and retail sales would be quadruple that amount at full legalization—$2.1B. Weed is usually a top 5 cash crop in legal states.

Beyond those states, upcoming legalization measures are expected in Oklahoma, Ohio, Florida, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

Sign up for Leafly Newsletters for the next big legalization update.



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Finally, Cannabis Is Legal in the State of New York

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Finally, cannabis is legal in the state of New York.

It has been a long time coming after many years of failed weed proposals to legalize cannabis in the state. On the last day of March 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making New York the 15th state in the country to legalize adult-use cannabis.

Just hours after the state’s Senate and Assembly passed the legislation the night before, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) decriminalizes cannabis and allows for the regulation of its sale, production, and use.

Cannabis is Legal in the State of New York But What Is Legal?

In the state of New York, medical and adult-use cannabis will be regulated by the newly-established Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

The industry is expected to bring in $350 million in annual tax revenue and billions of dollars and sales. It is expected to create between 30,000 to 60,000 jobs. It’s expected to be the largest market for cannabis behind California.

Minimum age requirement: 21

Possession limit: Up to 3 ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of cannabis concentrates; 5 pound limit at home

Home cultivation limit: Up to 6 plants for personal use (up to 3 can be mature); Up to 12 plants per household

Tax rate: 13%

Social Equity

Under the MRTA, 50% of establishment licenses must be issued to social equity applicants.

Social equity applicants include:

  • Applicants who are from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of cannabis prohibition
  • Women-owned businesses
  • Distressed farmers
  • Service-disabled veterans

For businesses with 25 or more employees, the OCM will give priority to applicants that have set up peace labor agreements or use union labor to build their facility. A two-year review from the OCM will determine if a licensee meets its eligibility requirements.

Criminal Justice and Record Expungement

Currently, low-level possession of cannabis results in thousands of arrests per year, 90% of which are people of color in New York. Now, possession will no longer be criminalized and those criminal records will be erased.

The law will automatically expunge or resentence anyone with a prior cannabis conviction that would be legal under the new law. Individuals with past convictions would be allowed to participate in the new adult-use market.

In addition, the law adds cannabis to the clean indoor air act which determines where cannabis can be smoked or vaped. However, individual jurisdictions can create stricter regulations to control cannabis smoking and vaping in public.

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Social Consumption and Delivery

Social consumption facilities and delivery services will be permitted.

However, cities and towns have the option to opt-out of commercial cannabis activity. Individual jurisdictions must opt-out by December 31, 2021.

Medical Program Expansion

The MRTA directs authority over the state’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Health to the OCM.

In particular, the law does the following:

  • Expands the list of medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana use
  • Increases the number of caregivers allowed per patient
  • Allows medical cannabis patients to cultivate cannabis at home (including outdoors)
  • Expands possession limits of medical cannabis to a 60-day supply, up from the previous 30-day limit
  • Removes restrictions on smoking medical cannabis

Cannabinoid Hemp

The MRTA directs authority over the state’s hemp program from the Department of Agriculture and Markets to the OCM.

The bill allows for the sale of hemp flower (available at adult-use dispensaries).

Tax Revenue

Tax revenue from the state’s adult-use market will be directed to the New York state cannabis revenue fund. The funds will cover reasonable costs to run the program and implement the law. The rest of the funding will be split three ways:

  • 40% to Education
  • 40% to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund
  • 20% to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund

Traffic Safety

The New York State Department of Health alongside higher education institutions will conduct a study designed to evaluate methodologies and technologies for the detection of cannabis-impaired driving.

The law will direct funding to increase the number of trained and certified drug-recognition experts and provide increased drug recognition awareness and advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement training.

Cannabis is Legal in the State of New York Road Ahead

Why has it taken so long to legalize weed in New York? Ultimately, Governor Cuomo and the state legislature haven’t been able to compromise on the details of the adult-use program.

Even up to the last hours of debate, lawmakers hurriedly implemented changes and compromises. Previous proposals were stalled due to disagreements over how tax revenue should be distributed.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

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In the end, Democrat lawmakers fought for a major portion of the revenue to go to communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. Governor Cuomo eventually made concessions that may have been largely influenced by his impeachment investigation.

No matter the reason, weed is legal in New York now. The bill has surprisingly become one of the most progressive bills implemented. From social equity and criminal justice reform to expansion of the medical program, New York’s industry has a promising future.

Stay In-the-Know

If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments, subscribe to Cannabis Training University’s marijuana industry blog.

For a complete cannabis education on the industry’s most important topics, enroll in one of the online marijuana training courses from CTU.



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Virginia Becomes 16th State to Legalize Cannabis

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It’s official. The state of Virginia has become the 16th state to legalize cannabis. Originally, lawmakers planned to allow adults 21 years of age and over to possess and grow weed starting January 1, 2024. However, Democratic Governor Ralph Northam proposed moving up the legalization timeline to allow adults to possess and grow cannabis starting on July 1, 2021.

What Is and Is Not Legal?

This new bill makes Virginia the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of cannabis. The state’s House of Delegates and Senate approved the governor’s proposal with a razor-thin margin.

Starting on July 1, 2021, the following will be legal for adults aged 21 and older:

Possession Limit: Up to 1 ounce of cannabis

Home cultivation: Up to 4 plants

Gifting: Up to 1 ounce to any adult

Possessing more than the one-ounce limit and less than a pound can earn you a $25 fine. Possessing more than a pound can be charged with a felony punishable by 1 to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.

In terms of home cultivation, each plant must be tagged with the growers name, driver’s license or state identification number, and a note that says it’s being grown for personal use. Plants must also be not visible from a public street or be accessible to minors.

Growing between 5 and 10 plants can earn you a $250 fine. Growing more than 50 plants is punishable with a felony charge.

Retail sales would still have to wait until regulations go into effect on January 1, 2024.

Virginia lawmakers must still meet during their general session in 2022 to re-approve the regulatory framework of the bill.

Close Call

Governor Northam has been a strong proponent of reforming the Virginia cannabis law. In February 2021, lawmakers sent amendments to his desk to legalize recreational cannabis. Late in March, the governor submitted his revisions the both chambers:

The House and Senate passed these amendments by the following majorities:

  • House: 53-44
  • Senate: 21-20

In the Senate, Democratic Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax broke the tie.

After the initial votes, both chambers passed each other’s proposals to effectively move up the legalization date and pass other amendments without any further approval from the governor.

Democratic House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said of the decision: “Today, with the Governor’s amendments, we will have made tremendous progress in ending the targeting of Black and brown Virginians through selective enforcement of marijuana prohibition by this summer”

Social Equity

A major part of the push for the bill by the governor was his insistence on repairing the damage caused by the war on drugs. One study found that Black Virginians were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis crimes compared with white people. It also found that they were more likely to be convicted at a rate of 3.9 times higher than white people.

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Even after the state lowered penalties for possession to a $25 fine, a disproportionate amount of Black people were still being charged.

The new law allows for the automatic sealing of past misdemeanor cannabis convictions. It also creates a petition-based process that allows individuals with more serious cannabis convictions to clear their records.

30% of the revenue from cannabis would be directed to communities most affected by the war on drugs to the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund. Funds would go to scholarships, job placement services, workforce development, and low- or no-interest loans for those wanting to start a cannabis business.

The bill would also give preference in licensing to those affected by the war on drugs. Virginians who have been convicted of a cannabis-related charge or who have a family member who has been convicted, or live in an area that is disproportionately affected by the war on drugs would get preferential treatment for licensing for any license type.

Public Health Education and Enforcement

The governor’s substitute bills will direct funding to public health education and law enforcement services including:

  • Public Health Education: $1 million to educate the youth about the health risks of cannabis.
  • Law Enforcement: $1 million to increase and improve training law enforcement to “recognize and prevent drugged driving.”

Employee Rights

In a win for employee rights, an amendment passed would give regulators authority to revoke a business license if an establishment interferes with attempts to organize a union.

In addition, license revocation could happen if a company “fails to pay a prevailing wage as defined by the United States Department of Labor” or have more than 10% of employees listed as independent contractors.

Fighting for More Reform

Racial justice advocates have been at the forefront fighting for speedy and efficient legalization from the start. The ACLU of Virginia and Marijuana Justice were extremely vocal against the legislature’s decision to delay legislation until 2024.

Advocates celebrated the recent victory but were still left wanting more. Virginia NORML Executive Director Jenn Michelle Pedini stated:

“In the interest of public and consumer safety, Virginians 21 and older should be able to purchase retail cannabis products at the already operational dispensaries in 2021, not in 2024. Such a delay will only exacerbate the divide for equity applicants and embolden illicit activity.”

Members of the Cannabis Equity Coalition of Virginia argued for at least 70% of tax revenues to be directed to the reinvestment fund.

Public Favors Legalization

These recent changes in the law accurately reflect current public support for legalization. A recent February 2021 poll from the Christopher Newport University’s Wason Center for Civic Leadership found that two-thirds (68%) of Virginian adults supported recreational legalization. Only a slight majority (51%) of Republican-registered voters supports this.

Northam Approves Additional Reforms

In addition to the recent legislation, Governor Northam had recently approved several amendments to strengthen reform efforts and protect cannabis patients.

There are over 300,000 jobs in the cannabis industry. CTU trained me for one of them!

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– Johanna Rose
Makes $24.50 @ THC +

Early in March, Governor Northam approved legislation that would allow retailers to dispense botanical medical cannabis. Previously, license cultivators were required to process cannabis into oils and tinctures. Now, medical cannabis patients will be able to purchase products made of cannabis oil or botanical cannabis as early as September 2021.

In addition, the amendments would make telehealth improvements passed after COVID-19 permanent, and give patients in residential facilities increased access to medical cannabis.

In late March, the governor signed House Bill 1862 which gives employment protections for medical cannabis patients. It would prohibit employers from firing, disciplining, or discriminating against employees who use medical cannabis off the clock.

All of these measures take effect July 1, 2021.

Online Cannabis Education

Stay up-to-date with the latest cannabis industry developments by subscribing to the Cannabis Training University marijuana industry blog. For a comprehensive cannabis education, enroll in online marijuana training.



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