The garden state is set to become the second state to legalize recreational marijuana without a ballot initiative. But, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s vow to let residents in the state light up does not guarantee that they are able to grow their own marijuana. Unfortunately, marijuana legalization does not ensure fully legal marijuana. Some states permit their residents to cultivate small amounts of marijuana at home, will Jersey do the same?
The state Assembly’s deputy leader, Reed Gusciora wants to give adults twenty-one and over permission to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
“Looking at the marijuana laws in place in California, Oregon, Washington and the like, I thought that homegrown should be an essential element of the New Jersey law, too,” Gusciora said in an interview.
The New Jersey state Assembly and Senate are analyzing several different legalization efforts. Gusciora, co-author of the state’s medical-marijuana legislation, introduced his home-grow amendment to a proposal in the lower house. Gusciora’s bill would permit New Jersey residents to grow up to six plants indoors only and within a “controlled environment”.
Gusciora is also pushing a bill that would legalize hemp farming. The previous effort to give the state’s residents the ability to cultivate the non-psychoactive plant, beneficial for fiber and fuel, failed in 2012, thanks to Chris Christie. The state’s former governor also promised to block a hemp bill. As a result, the bill failed along with other countless efforts to expand the state’s limited medical marijuana law.
For the most part, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is awful. With so many restrictions, less than 12,500 patients were enrolled in 2016. A reassessment is required every ninety days to certify that the patient is still meeting the programs criteria. Limitations prevent many from gaining access to medical marijuana because they aren’t “sick enough”. New Jersey is one of the three states in the country where chronic or “intractable pain” does not qualify for treatment.
Christie may be out of office, but neither hemp farming nor home grow is certain. Even legalization itself is not a sure thing. We will have to wait and see what the future holds for legalization in New Jersey and which bill makes it way to Gov. Murphy’s desk.