Monmouth County 11th District Legislators introduce bill to allow cannabis to be grown at home
It could be months before pot shops are allowed to open up as the new Marijuana Law is rolled out in the Garden State, so while it is now legal, there is nowhere to currently legally buy recreational weed in New Jersey.
Knowing that, Monmouth County State Senator Vin Gopal (D) and his 11th District Legislative team of Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D), have announced they're introducing legislation which would allow anyone 21 and older to grow recreational and medical cannabis at home.
If (S3582/A5552) is passed, those 21 and older would be able to grow up to six plants for recreational use or up to 10 plants for medical use but you would not be allowed to have more than 12 plants at your home.
"Home grow just makes sense. Let people be. They’re not hurting anyone. And if that helps, especially on the medical side as well, then we should embrace it," Senator Gopal said in a statement. "Allow people 21 and older to grow up to six plants for recreational use or up to 10 plants for medical use."
There are some guidelines that come with this legislation to regulate it.
In Gopal's bill, anyone "who knowingly maintains or operates any premises, place or facility used for the manufacture of methamphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine, gamma hydroxybutyrate, flunitrazepam, (marijuana in an amount greater than five pounds or ten plants) or any substance listed in Schedule I or II, or the analog of any such substance, or any person who knowingly aids, promotes, finances or otherwise participates in the maintenance or operations of such premises, place or facility, is guilty of a crime of the first degree and shall, except as provided in N.J.S.2C:35-12, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may also impose a fine not to exceed $750,000.00 or five times the street value of all controlled dangerous substances, controlled substance analogs, gamma hydroxybutyrate or flunitrazepam at any time manufactured or stored at such premises, place or facility, whichever is greater."
With this bill, you can grow and have marijuana plants at home for personal recreational use or personal medical use, only if you are 21 or older, and won't be charged with a crime in that regard because recreational marijuana is now legal.
More recently, a "clean up" bill was passed which now allows parents to be notified by police if their son or daughter is found with marijuana or alcohol.
With and under the new Marijuana Law anyone is considered a minor if they are under 21 years old but many argue there's no way to officiate that in the way that the law is written because police could face criminal charges if they initiate an investigation into underage use.
Assemblywoman Downey and Assemblyman Houghtaling say this bill is needed but more needs to be done to decriminalize marijuana.
“Allowing individuals to grow cannabis inside their homes will tremendously help those who have financial struggles and need to fill their prescription,” Assemblywoman Joann Downey said in a statement. “In most cases, individuals are paying an exorbitant amount of money at dispensaries and what they buy does not even fill their prescription. Allowing individuals to grow up to 10 plants for medical use will greatly benefit the individuals who are in pain both physically and financially.”
“There is an issue at hand when we legalize marijuana, yet we punish individuals for growing it in their own home," Assemblyman Houghtaling said in a statement. "As the law stands currently, growing even one plant can result in a first-degree crime punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison. This legislation will allow individuals the access to grow up to six plants for recreational use and 10 plants for medical use in their own home without the threat of going to prison.”