After years of false starts and failed attempts, Gov. Philip D. Murphy on Monday signed into law three bills that effectively permit and regulate the use of recreational cannabis in New Jersey, making it the most populous state in the Northeast to fully legalize the drug.
New Jersey is now one of 14 states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and older, while also easing several penalties for underage possession and allowing for the creation of a regulated market that could provide a welcomed boost to the state’s economy as it recovers from the pandemic.
Legal sales likely remain months away at the earliest, as the state takes on its next task of creating a heavily regulated industry large enough to support public demand, with licenses still to be doled out to dispensaries.
But after years of failed legislative efforts to approve the use of recreational cannabis, Monday’s move came as a long-awaited win for supporters, including Mr. Murphy, who had long pushed for the inclusion of measures to address the disproportionate number of cannabis arrests in communities of color.
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