TRENTON, NJ - New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this week.
The bill allows for the possession of up to six ounces of marijuana.
However, marijuana will not be immediately available, as New Jersey must first establish a market place and regulations for the new industry. It is believed sales will not begin until 2022.
Currently, dispensaries sell medical marijuana to 100,000 patients with prescriptions in New Jersey.
New Jersey's Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which will supervise the industry, has been given six months to put in place regulations before granting licenses for selling recreational marijuana.
Additionally, the new law allows for no more than 37 licenses to be issued to grow marijuana in the first two years.
Of note, the new law does not allow the use of marijuana in public. Rather, the law calls for the creation of "consumption lounges" where marijuana can be consumed.
Additionally, New Jersey will collect 7 percent sales tax and up to 2 percent municipal tax on marijuana sales.
Also, an excise tax will be charged to retailers, based upon the weight of their purchases.
The new law also prohibits the arrest of those over 21 years-old carrying up to 6 ounces of marijuana.
Those under 21 years will receive written warnings, if caught with marijuana. The first warning is directed to the offending youth, the second to a parent and the third to a community program, such as those providing drug education or treatment.
The law also prevents police from arresting those selling marijuana. Further, police must have their body cameras turned on when confronting young people.
Other states that have legalized marijuana use include Colorado, Arizona, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. It is also legal in Washngton DC.