Things could be changing quickly in New Jersey. The state has already seen a big expansion in its medical marijuana program. And now, there’s another round of new legislation on the table. Among many other potential changes, New Jersey’s new bill could bring cannabis lounges to the state.
An Ambitious New Bill
New Jersey Senator Nicholas Scutari recently introduced a new cannabis bill. The proposal would create sweeping changes to both recreational and medical marijuana in the state.
Rep. Scutari’s bill calls for the legalization of recreational weed. In particular, it would make it legal for adults to possess and consume marijuana. It would also establish a system for the cultivation, production, and sale of recreational marijuana. At the same time, his bill would also greatly expand the state’s medical marijuana program.
If his bill becomes law, it would create dramatic changes to New Jersey’s cannabis landscape. Most notably, there would be tons of new dispensaries.
Rep. Scutari’s bill would allow the state to have up to 120 recreational dispensaries. More specifically, each of the state’s 40 legislative districts would be allowed to have at least two recreational shops. On top of that, there would be 40 other dispensaries scattered throughout the state.
Additionally, his bill would allow the state to have up to 98 medical marijuana shops. This would help accommodate the growing number of patients in the wake of recent changes introduced by Governor Phil Murphy.
Finally, the proposal would set a limit of 25 marijuana growers in the state. Fifteen of those 25 would be devoted to growing medical marijuana.
Similarly, the proposal would set aside 15 processors for the medical program. Meanwhile, there would not be a limit on the number of processors for the recreational market.
Cannabis Lounges in New Jersey?
The creation of cannabis lounges is one of the more unique aspects of Rep. Scutari’s bill. If his proposal passes into law, dispensaries will be allowed to offer their customers special places where they can consume weed.
Under such a system, customers would be able to go to a dispensary to buy their favorite recreational weed products.
They could then take their purchases directly to the shop’s cannabis lounge. In that space, customers would be allowed to consume whatever they had just bought.
Social Impact Zones
To that end, the proposal would make it possible for people serving time for weed-related crimes to apply to get their charges cleared.
Similarly, the bill sets aside 25 percent of all licenses for “social impact zones.” These are defined as locations that have been disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition laws.
Under the proposed plan, the state would work to give licenses to business owners from these zones. Similarly, it would support the creation of marijuana businesses in these communities.
Rep. Scutari’s bill is now officially up for consideration. However, there isn’t a lot of time to move it into law. In fact, there are only three weeks before lawmakers must finalize the state’s budget. Given this tight timeline, many in the state think the odds are slim that the bill could pass into law.