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New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana use, regulates sales

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed several laws Monday legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for people older than 21, regulating its sale and reforming penalties for low-level marijuana offenses. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed several laws Monday legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for people older than 21, regulating its sale and reforming penalties for low-level marijuana offenses. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 22 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation on Monday legalizing recreational marijuana use and regulating its sale.

Murphy signed the bills passed by the legislature earlier in the day, which permit the sale of marijuana to anyone 21 years old or older to be used recreationally and reformed penalties for low-level marijuana offenses.

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"This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters," Murphy said in a statement.

Under the new laws the state's Cannabis Regulatory Commission will oversee applications for cannabis businesses and direct it to promote diversity and inclusion in business ownership.

The legislation also allows for the legislature to reinvest cannabis revenues in designated "impact zones."

Another law signed Monday creates a pathway to vacate certain active sentences for marijuana offenses and prevents unlawful low-level distribution and possession offenses from being used in pretrial release, probation and parole decisions as well as providing protections against discrimination in employment, housing and places of public accommodation.

Lastly, a law would clarify penalties for marijuana possession and consumption for people younger than 21 years old.

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