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The recently passed legislation concerning the legalization of adult recreational marijuana use in New Jersey is comprehensive and complicated. Although the fact that the legislation itself passed has dominated the headlines, less has been written about the nuts and bolts of marijuana “decriminalization”—that is, the process of migrating the regulation of marijuana usage away from New Jersey’s criminal code (but not completely) and moving toward defining and activating the civil and administrative regulatory schemes.

In this article, we discuss the decriminalization components of one of the bills that Governor Murphy signed into law: The “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (A21). The new cannabis laws, including A21, address what is commonly known as recreational use of cannabis. Medicinal use of cannabis, pursuant to a prescription from a physician, for the most part continues to be governed by previously enacted laws. Below is an overview of information that attorneys, law enforcement, and the public, need to know about recreational cannabis.

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