New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order that could significantly change the garden state’s medical marijuana program. Murphy’s is requiring the New Jersey Department of Health to review the state’s current medical marijuana laws. It also calls on state agencies as well as lawmakers to discover new avenues to make make medical marijuana more accessible. Murphy has set a deadline of sixty days for the state’s agencies to meet his demands.
Murphy stated that his executive order is a result of the limitations that patients encounter obtaining access to medicinal marijuana. Murphy cited that the current law doesn’t not give enough patients access to medicinal marijuana and those who are permitted are restricted to not only how much they are permitted to obtain but also how it is obtained.
Medicinal marijuana was legalized in the state back in 2010. Chris Christie, New Jersey’s former governor, instated many limitations on the plant. Under rules established by the Christie administration, the number of health conditions that qualify for medical marijuana are extremely limited. Patients are not permitted to possess over two ounces of marijuana per month and delivery is not an option. These rules are viewed as restrictive by many, including Murphy.
“The roadblocks put in place by the past administration mean that the law’s spirit has been stifled, Gov. Murphy said at a signing ceremony yesterday. “The system we have inherited can best be described as medical marijuana in name only.”
During Murphy’s campaign, he vowed that he would push to legalize marijuana in the state. Murphy officially took office on January 16, and this is one of his first actions as governor. It is unknown whether this execution will amount to anything or if it is only the beginning to Murphy’s goal, recreational legalization.
Governor Murphy is not the first lawmaker advocating for marijuana in New Jersey. Senator Cory Booker has taken the title as of the country’s leading pro-marijuana politicians. Booker recently introduced The Marijuana Justice Act to the Senate and then, last week, Representatives Barbara Lee and Ro Khanna brought a similar version of the bill before the House of Representatives.
Booker’s bill essentially calls for the federal legalization of marijuana, but it digs even deeper. The Marijuana Justice Act is targeting to address the effects caused by the war on drugs, specifically the war on marijuana. The bill would also expunge marijuana-related crimes from offender’s records.
Both Booker’s bill and Murphy’s new executive order come as the federal government has waged war with the legal marijuana industry and the states that support it. Yet, it does not look like the actions taken by the Feds are preventing the states of the country from taking steps to legalize marijuana. Quite frankly, New Jersey could be the next state to go full on legal.