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New Jersey State Governor Phil Murphy signed three laws on Monday that effectively approve recreational marijuana use in the region for those 21 and older, more than 3 months after citizens voted resoundingly in favor of a constitutional amendment to do so in last November 3 elections.rd
The legislation, which allows possession of up to 170 grams of marijuana, has passed after months of debate among lawmakers over taxes, sales licenses and what fines would be imposed on those under 21 who consume the substance.
The New Jersey Senate has finally decided that arrests and fines for young users will be replaced with verbal warnings and drug education programs.
“I really believe this process has resulted in laws that will serve as a national model,” said Murphy, who admitted that it has taken longer than he would have liked to pass recreational cannabis use.
The approval of the recreational use of marijuana, however, comes as medical cannabis dispensaries have not yet been able to meet the demand in the state, so sales to the general public will not begin until production is sufficiently increased.
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As a result, marijuana is not expected to be sold for recreational purposes in New Jersey until the end of this year, experts told local media, although decriminalization of consumption goes into effect immediately.
“Beginning immediately, those who have been arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana (…) will be able to be released and go on with their lives,” Murphy added.