NJ marijuana still illegal after Jan. 1 if lawmakers can’t agree

TRENTON – If legislators don’t pass bills regulating marijuana legalization, the drug will remain illegal — even if the Jan. 1 effective date of the legal weed ballot question passes, according to one constitutional law expert.

More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters cast ballots to amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana, the most impactful — but not final — step toward the state legalizing the drug for recreational purposes.

But under the actual language changed in the New Jersey State Constitution, legal weed can only be realized with regulations put forth by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission and, in turn, the Legislature.

Background: Lawmakers are still split on how to make weed legal in NJ. Here’s why.

“This new provision because it says it’s lawful and shall be regulated according to that implementing commission,” said Robert Williams, a retired constitutional law professor at the Rutgers Law School. “If people read this as though it’s just going to throw the doors open? Well, there’s still a law on the books.

“You could have this new law go into effect and still have it be a criminal act.”

While the ballot question and interpretive statement itself simply ask voters if they approve “amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana,” the actual proposed language in the constitution includes one important word, Williams said:…

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