New Jersey Votes To Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Capping off an unprecedented year, New Jersey residents voted in favor of recreational cannabis. In what many had been predicting for some time, the November 3rd voter referendum officially paved the way for legislation to legalize the sale and production of the drug. Critically, in order for the sale and production of marijuana to become legal, New jersey residents have voted to amend their constitution. The amendment will become law starting on January 1, 2021. Lawmakers do not expect a difficult path toward creating the infrastructure necessary for regulation as there has been little resistance on both sides politically.

Overwhelming Majority Of Voters Favored Legalization

Legalization had long been considered and attempted by lawmakers in New Jersey. In fact, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy boldly claimed that his administration planned on pushing through legislation to legalize the drug in early 2017. But after lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement on legislation, a ballot measure was drafted placing the issue solely within the purview of voters. With nearly 70 percent of voters opting for legalization, a clear majority of New Jersey voters made it known that they favor the sale and production of the drug. New Jersey now joins 11 other states who have legalized and opened up the sale of marijuana.

Medical Dispensaries Scheduled to Begin Sale As Early As January 1, 2021

Medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey as of 2016, with over 50 dispensaries throughout the state offering it for sale. While the voter referendum serves as the beginning of the process toward the recreational sale of marijuana, legislators still must pass a bill that regulates and governs the newly-created industry. Once the bill is passed, medical dispensaries can begin the sale of recreational marijuana as early as January 1, 2021 provided that they have the supply necessary to satisfy demand for both medical and recreational consumers. While a shortage of supply has long plagued the state, lawmakers are hopeful that legalization of recreational marijuana will entice more growers to enter the industry and shore up shortfalls. Similarly, industry insiders predict a change to marijuana’s federal status which could clear the way for importation of the drug from states currently experiencing a surplus in supply.

Cannabis Users In Neighboring States Expected To Flock To New Jersey

New Jersey shares its borders with a number of states who have yet to legalize recreational marijuana. Most notably is New York, boasting a population of almost 20,000,000 residents. Analysts predict New Jersey’s neighboring states’ residents to cross the border in droves in a bid to legally purchase marijuana. New Jersey lawmakers have recognized this and hope to take advantage of potentially massive tax revenue. As states like Washington and Oregon are experiencing record marijuana sales revenues, New Jersey may be poised to surpass those numbers if their neighbors including New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland continue to resist efforts to legalize.

Aaron Pelley

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