New Jersey is often mentioned among the states that may legalize recreational marijuana in 2020. And for good reason. The state has taken several steps over the past year to reform its cannabis laws, including creating the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and overhauling its medical marijuana program to address supply problems, relax quantity restrictions, permit home delivery, and add workplace protections for card holders.
Last month, New Jersey took another step towards comprehensive cannabis reform by enacting expungement reforms designed to give eligible individuals a “clean slate.” Specifically, Senate Bill S-4154 reduces lengthy waiting periods, expands the offenses subject to expungement, and allows for an unlimited number of expungements for qualifying individuals. In addition, the Clean Slate Expungement program will automatically expunge certain marijuana offenses by September 2020—meaning there is no need to petition the court.
New Jersey’s new expungement process may be the most progressive in the nation and has set a high standard for other states to follow. But the missing piece in New Jersey’s marijuana reform is obviously legalizing adult-use marijuana. While it seems inevitable that it will happen eventually, it’s difficult to predict whether that will happen this year. We are optimistic it will, but we also thought there was a good chance of legalization last year.
We will keep an eye out for further developments, so be sure to check our blog for additional information.