Lawmaker says NJ voters also wanted home-grown marijuana legalized
A state senator who co-sponsored the first big fix to New Jersey's marijuana legislation is back with another bill that would allow adults to grow their own weed.
The current law does not allow for homegrown weed and carries a potential 10 to 20 -year prison sentence for growing 10 or more marijuana plants at home. Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, has proposed allowing adults to grow up to six plants of marijuana for recreational use and 10 for medical use in their homes.
Gopal supported the referendum and the legislation that was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy. He was a sponsor of recently signed legislation that allowed police to notify parents about their children's first offense of possession of marijuana or alcohol.
"After we voted on that bill I saw immediately there were a lot of gaps, not just home grown but the parental notification issue that was just resolved and I'm sure other issues are going to pop up no different when the state passed the Alcohol Beverage Commission and alcohol laws and we're still cleaning up from that," Gopal said.
Gopal is not sure why home grown was not part of the legalization but given the overwhelming support the question received he believes it needs to be included.
"Homegrown is true legalization. That's what the people of New Jersey voted on. To legalize this, to move on from this topic and we can focus our criminal justice tax dollars on violent criminals and not non-violent offenders," Gopal said. "It's obviously also important for medical patients who can't travel, giving residents of New Jersey that choice."
Just before his death in February, Republican state Sen. Gerald Cardinale proposed similar legislation, which Gopal said he was not aware of when he introduced his bill.
"I will ask the Senate leadership office and see if there's a way to incorporate him. We'll talk to his family and former Senate staff to see if it was something that was important to him that he wanted to be part of. We'll make sure his name is attached some way," Gopal said.
When asked about homegrown marijuana after signing the legalization, Murphy said "we're going to go with what we have got."
Scutari said he was concerned that rules about homegrown marijuana could not be enforced and it could create a black market, according to a New Jersey Globe report.
Legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday legalized recreational marijuana use in New York. The law includes a provision to allow New Yorkers to grow up to three mature and three immature plants for personal consumption.