NJ pot becomes legal on April 21: How will Gov. Phil Murphy celebrate?
Sales of recreational marijuana are set to begin on Thursday in New Jersey, much to the delight of Gov. Phil Murphy.
During a news conference on Monday, the governor was asked how he’s feeling about marijuana becoming legal in the Garden State and he replied, “I think relieved is the best way to describe how I feel about this. At long last.”
When Murphy was asked if he will be smoking pot on Thursday, he indicated he will not.
No marijuana for Murphy
“It’s never been an animating thing for me. If we were legalizing scotch I would show up with a shopping cart. This is not been my thing,” he said.
“I’m trying to figure out how to properly acknowledge the day on Thursday, and that’s still sort of in process.”
Murphy said he initially supported the move to allow recreational cannabis years ago for social justice reasons, noting the War on Drugs had a huge negative impact on communities of color.
“We’re not inventing marijuana, it’s there," he said. "The question is who’s controlling the industry, who’s going to control the quality, health, safety."
The governor pointed out the Cannabis Regulatory Commission has granted licenses to major players in the legal cannabis industry to sell marijuana in the Garden State but “I think it’s an even bigger deal that the Commission put out 100 provisional licenses to mom-pop, minority, women, veteran-owned that are too small to be in the big category.”
When asked about the new marijuana rules and regulations, Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said it’s important to remember “public safety continues to be at the forefront here."
"We’ve re-launched campaigns through our Highway Traffic Safety division to address driving under the influence, we’re going to continue to work with law enforcement," Platkin said.
The governor noted while law enforcement officials, like everybody else, will be permitted for the time being to use recreational weed when they are not on duty, “there’s no allowing anybody to show up impaired, whether you’re drinking, whether you’ve smoked weed, whatever the reason — anybody who shows up impaired will be dealt with aggressively.”
Murphy also said he would be open to the idea of prohibiting law enforcement officers from using recreational marijuana if the legislature passed such a law.
Platkin noted you can’t possess or use unregulated marijuana at the workplace and you can’t use unregulated marijuana at all.
He said on-the-job testing will have to include a physical exam by a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert, a WIRE, but for the time being, that will be impossible.
As reported by New Jersey 101.5 last week, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission has not yet adopted regulations to certify WIREs, so there aren’t any in existence yet.