Hashish legalization payments in New Jersey hit a snag on Tuesday when Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy directed lawmakers to incorporate provisions that levy civil fines for marijuana possession and use by people beneath the age of 21. The state Senate and Meeting handed separate payments to decriminalize possession of marijuana and regulate a licensed cannabis industry on December 17 in response to the approval of a legalization poll measure that was permitted by voters within the November election.

The governor’s workplace introduced on Monday that it was working to rectify variations between the Senate and Meeting variations of the payments which have delayed the measures being signed into regulation by Murphy. However the governor’s last-minute demand to incorporate punishment for underage individuals caught possessing pot is threatening the enactment of legalization by January 1 as required by the poll measure overwhelmingly permitted by voters final month.

Murphy said on Monday that he was working to resolve a “technical however necessary situation.” The governor has reportedly included the provisions to impose civil fines for underage possession of marijuana in a cleanup invoice despatched to lawmakers on Tuesday. Underneath the invoice, individuals beneath the age of 21 caught with as much as one ounce of marijuana can be topic to a civil wonderful of $250, whereas possession of 1 to 6 ounces would carry a wonderful of as much as $500. The measure additionally amends discrepancies between the Meeting and Senate variations of the legalization payments.

“Via the cleanup invoice, we’re bringing standardization and coherence to the method,” a supply in Murphy’s administration who was not approved to talk publicly instructed native media.

No Penalties For Underage Possession In Invoice Handed By Lawmakers

As written and permitted by legislators, the legalization payments embrace no provisions for penalizing possession of hashish by young people. With Murphy’s modifications, these beneath 21 wouldn’t be topic to arrest however may very well be assessed the civil fines, which are literally lower than the penalties on the books for underage consuming.

If lawmakers conform to the modifications requested by Murphy, the cleanup invoice must be permitted by each homes of the legislature. The measure may very well be signed into regulation and go into impact earlier than the start of the yr as required by the poll measure. If that fails to occur, legal guidelines in opposition to possession would nonetheless be on the books and depart individuals topic to arrest, regardless of a transparent mandate from the individuals to legalize hashish by January 1.

“It’s paramount that lawmakers conform to a legislative treatment by the tip of the yr with the intention to comport with the desire of the voters and to keep away from additional confusion,” Carly Wolf, the state insurance policies coordinator for the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines (NORML), said in a press launch. “Justice delayed is justice denied. It’s long gone time that New Jerseyans loved the identical freedoms as these in lots of different states and are in a position to legally possess hashish with out the specter of arrest, prosecution, and incarceration.”