The New Jersey governor says the state should “revisit” its current criminalization of homegrown marijuana for personal use, but he thinks the conversation should come later once the commercial market matures.
Governor Phil Murphy (D) has often been asked about the lack of a home grow option in New Jersey’s cannabis program, and he expressed his openness to the proposal before. But he made it clear during a question-and-answer session on WNYC radio Monday that he doesn’t think the time is right to enact this additional reform.
One caller phrased the question to the governor in a pointed way, asking when, in the life cycle of the marijuana plant, does it actually become legal. The current policy, he said, “makes it sound, respectfully, that it’s the factory itself isn’t really legal, but the ability to make money from the factory is legal”.
Murphy said it was a “good question”.
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to ask the existential question of when the factory becomes reality here, so I’ll leave that to someone else,” the governor said. “I am of the opinion that we should revisit this question at some point. And I don’t know when the right time is to see him again.
Listen to the Governor discuss the domestic cultivation of marijuana below, beginning at around 35:58 in the audio below:
“I think we need to get the industry back on its feet or fully on its feet,” the governor said. “It’s going very well. The good news is that it’s going really well. But we don’t have enough pitches yet and I want to see a bit more maturity in the market.
The WNYC host tracked by ask if the problem is that “individuals who want to grow their own don’t really have the presence – they don’t have a lobbyist, they don’t have the ability to get the legislature to act like the cannabis industry does may. “
Murphy admitted that “might” be the case, but he pivoted to say that the administration and regulators are “doing a really good job” of defending the market, and he cited the issuance of conditional cannabis commercial licenses as an example of how the state works to reach an acceptable level of maturation.
He also acknowledged that the process had “taken longer than any of us would like”.
The governor stressed that he does not want to create an industry dominated by “the big guys,” and that conditional licensing is a way for the state to empower people with limited access to capital, especially “women.” , minorities and veterans”. “owned” companies.
“I want everyone, especially people who are so hard hit by the war on drugs,” to be able to participate in the marijuana market, Murphy said.
Meanwhile, some New Jersey lawmakers are criticizing the lack of a home-grow option and calling for broader reform.
In an interview with NorthJersey.com that was published on Tuesday, Senator Vin Gopal (D) said he had long been concerned about the “business side” of cannabis legalization, in terms of interests outside the state entering and taking control of the market.
“But the first thing we need to do is allow people to have some sort of home-growing options,” he said. “At a minimum, the medical part is really important because you have a lot of people who have different health issues, and the home culture is relevant to them.”
“It’s something that a lot of people on both sides of the aisle agree on, [to] try to make sure New Jersey residents have that right,” he said. “Arresting someone, or going to jail for growing plants, is absolutely insane.”
Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R) echoes his colleague’s remarks and pointed out that the state allows adults to brew their own beer and make their own wine.
“If you’re a conservative Republican, you can’t have this dichotomy where the government insists it’s the panacea and not only won’t allow you to do it, but will shut you down if you do it,” he said. he said, “That’s a problem.”
The two senators introduced a bill on domestic cultivation of medical cannabis earlier this year, but it did not advance out of committee.
Separately, the New Jersey Assembly recently approved a bill that would allow licensed marijuana businesses deduct certain expenses on their state tax returnsa partial remedy as the industry continues to be barred from making federal deductions under the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code known as 280E.
While the adult use market is still developing, it is already proving profitable, with the state reports about $80 million in marijuana sales within the first ten weeks of the retailers opening their store in April.
A bill introduced by Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari (D) over the summer would also authorize the governor to enter into agreements for the interstate marijuana trade with other states that have legalized cannabis. However, the agreements could only be forged if federal law changes or if the Justice Department issues guidelines authorizing such activity.
The President of the Senate separately filed legislation to legalize psilocybin in New Jerseyand it includes provisions that would allow people to grow the psychedelic at home.
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.