New Jersey makes progress with legal cannabis

Dec 21, 2020

Legal weed is finally coming to New Jersey after years of promise and pitfall. As NORML noted in a recent press release, “members of the New Jersey state Assembly and Senate have given final approval to legislation permitting the possession of marijuana by adults and regulating its commercial production and retail sales. Each of the measures now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.”

“I commend lawmakers for working quickly to implement the will of the voters, who made their mandate clear at the ballot box." said NORML State Policies Coordinator Carly Wolf. "While this legislation is not perfect and our work is far from finished, it is a crucial step forward toward repairing the decades of damage done to New Jersey’s most vulnerable communities as a result of the enforcement of marijuana prohibition.” 

Wolf continued: “Historically, law enforcement in New Jersey has arrested more people per capita for marijuana law violations than almost any other state in the nation. Most notably, going forward tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding New Jerseyans will no longer be subject to arrest, incarceration, and a criminal record for their personal use of marijuana, and that is a reason to celebrate.”

Legal cannabis is happening thanks to Senate Bill 21 and Assembly Bill 21. Both will establish “regulatory guidelines for the marijuana market.” 

As NORML noted in their press release, “under the bills, adults may legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The measures cap the number of commercial cultivators permitted under the law at 37 for the first two years. The measures direct 70 percent of the revenue derived from sales taxes on retail marijuana purchases toward reinvestment in designated communities that have been most adversely impacted by prohibition.”

The Assembly bill passed by a vote of 49 to 24 with six abstentions. Meanwhile, the Senate vote passed 23 to 17.

Study: Long-Term Cannabis Use Associated with Reduced Symptoms in Patients with Post-Traumatic Stress

In other cannabis news touted by NORML this week, a new study released shows that long term use might reduce symptoms of PTSD in patients. The advocacy group wrote in a press release, “post-traumatic stress patients who consume state-authorized cannabis products exhibit reduced symptoms over time as compared to nonusers, according to longitudinal data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.”

“Veterans are far more likely to self-report using cannabis than are those in the general population, and many veterans attest that cannabis is effective for the self-management of their PTS symptoms,” said NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “These findings substantiate their claims.”

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, John Hopkins University, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine reported: “Participants who used primarily THC-dominant cannabis reported a greater reduction in PTSD symptom severity over time compared to controls. Cannabis users also showed a greater than two-fold rate of remission from their PTSD diagnosis (defined by no longer meeting criteria for a PTSD diagnosis on the CAPS-5) compared to controls by the 1-year follow-up assessment.”

The researchers concluded: “This study provides evidence that the types of cannabis available in recreational and medical cannabis dispensaries might hold promise as an alternative treatment for PTSD. … This study’s primary outcome supports the theory that cannabis should be [tested in clinical trials] as a potential therapeutic for PTSD.”

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