New Jersey’s efforts to legalize adult use recreational cannabis officially moved from legislative to electoral. Senator President Stephen Sweeney introduced a constitutional amendment regarding the legalization of adult use recreational cannabis that is expected to be on the ballot in the 2020 election.
If New Jersey voters approve of the amendment, it would take effect on January 1, 2021. The actual implementation of legalized adult use recreational cannabis, however, would take additional time. Similar to the anticipated process with respect legalization through legislation, this method would still require a state agency (the Cannabis Regulatory Commission) to be created, rules and regulations to be implemented and promulgated and license applications to be processed. In other states where this process has taken place, it took one to two years for dispensaries to officially open following the official legalization enactment.
With this news, it seems clear that the legislative effort has ended, and the ultimate call will come down to New Jersey voters. If the legalization vote is successful, expect dispensaries to begin opening in 2022. For companies and entrepreneurs who have been previously interested in pursuing a New Jersey adult use recreational cannabis business, November of 2020 will be a key month to follow.
This blog will continue to track the critical confluences in cannabis and the law.