Late last month, New Jersey lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate voted to advance a bill legalizing adult use cannabis and establishing a retail industry in the state. The vote to advance S2703 out of committee represents the first official legislative action on adult-use cannabis since pro-legalization Gov. Phil Murphy assumed office in January. But the lengthy and contentious public hearing that preceded the vote highlighted the breadth of opposition to the specifics of the bill, if not legalization in general.
Although far from its final version and still very much up for major changes, the bill’s advancement signaled that New Jersey is well on the path toward a regulated and taxed adult-use cannabis industry. Yet while state lawmakers work to craft a legal framework, dozens of New Jersey towns have quietly passed resolutions banning the industry.
Dozens of New Jersey Towns Have Already Banned the Cannabis Industry
Since their 2016 takeover, New Jersey Democrats have expanded qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatments and licensed more dispensaries. And they’ve made criminal justice reform a centerpiece of their legalization campaign. Additionally, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has instructed prosecutors to adjourn all marijuana-related cases until the attorney general’s office can