Law enforcement is also interested in keeping homegrown cannabis illegal. That could be because police often use the smell of cannabis as a reason to search a home without a warrant. That’s because in most states, the smell of cannabis is still considered “probable cause” that a crime is being committed, which allows police to conduct unreasonable searches without a warrant. When homegrown cannabis is made legal, law enforcement will lose that ability because the smell will no longer indicate that a crime is being committed.
New Jersey is a great place to grow cannabis. But unfortunately, New Jersey is one of two states where adult-use cannabis is legal, but home cultivation is not. It’s possibly the only thing that New Jersey has in common with the other non-homegrow state, Washington, and it’s nothing to be proud of. The good news is: New Jersey can fix it. To paraphrase a former New Jersey official, it’s time for some homegrown in Fort Lee.
But here’s the problem: although it is legal in New Jersey for any adult to buy cannabis, it’s still not legal for anyone to grow a single plant. If a police officer in New Jersey catches anyone growing cannabis, that person can go to prison for five years and face a $25,000 fine — for growing one plant. That is an untenable situation that lacks any legal logic, and it stinks like Mark Sanchez’s mask after the butt fumble.
So, how did New Jersey find itself in this idiotic situation? Last November, the people of New Jersey voted for a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis. But at some point during the negotiations to draft the enabling legislation, the home-grow provisions were cut out of it. Cut out by whom — and for what reason — remains unclear.
That puts police groups and marijuana businesses on the same side of the issue in a Baptist-bootlegger compromise to maintain the last remaining vestiges of prohibition. And that’s a mess.
“It’s going to take at least six months to make our initial rules and regulations, and then only at that point, will they start soliciting adult use licenses. And then it will take another 90 days for those licenses to get considered. And only then can they start the process of opening up,” McQueeny said.
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Could New Jersey residents soon be allowed to legally grow marijuana at home?
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reports, St. Sen. Vin Gopal sponsored a bill to allow anyone 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.
“So to truly legalize cannabis home growers should be an option, “Gopal said. “It’s no different than other states like California who have adopted this… . The reality is, as a country and as a state, we’ve spent billions of dollars on the failed war on drugs. And this is just one piece of making sure that it’s truly legalized.”
Medical patients could grow up to 10 plants. Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, has been pushing for this to open up access to more than 100,000 patients who only have 14 alternative treatment centers to choose from.
The licenses awarded Friday were part of a 2019 request for applications by the state Department of Health, which oversaw the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program until the CRC was established.
“We anticipate dynamic growth and development in the industry as the new entities become operational and the great potential of New Jersey’s adult-use market becomes a reality,” New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association President Shaya Brodchandel said in a statement. “Together, we have an exciting road ahead and look forward to working with these new licensees — and those to come — to continue building this growing industry.”
The four vertically integrated licenses were awarded to:
“It’s easier than ever for patients to come into the program, but they still face high prices, crowded dispensaries and problems finding the strains they find most effective,” Brown said.
The terms of the licenses issued Friday emphasized the importance of ensuring patients’ needs are met before worrying about legal weed. License holders must wait at least one year before applying for a permit to transition into recreational sales and cannot change ownership for two years.
The CRC did not release information about the licensees except for the region of the state in which they intended to operate.
The process was halted for over a year due to a lawsuit by applicants whose applications were rejected due to a file format issue.
“Approving additional cannabis growing, processing and dispensary licenses in the state will immensely help the program, providing patients with more variety and reducing their travel time to obtain their medicine,” Etain CEO Amy Peckam said. “We cannot wait to bring our high-quality products and formulations to the patients and customers of New Jersey.”
Since medical marijuana cultivators and dispensaries already have the products, officials believe it will be faster for them to simply “flip a switch” and open sales to anyone over 21 than for the state to license new recreational-only operations.