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Mushrooms and Cannabis deciminalized in New Jersey

An earlier version of the decrim measure removed penalties for possession of up to a pound of Cannabis

The New Jersey legislature passed a measure to decriminalize up to six ounces of Cannabis. Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the decrim bill into law. 

Voter-approved legalization takes effect in January, so lawmakers have been working on a decriminalization measure to stop marijuana possession arrests in the interim. However, when we checked in on New Jersey last month, ‘shrooms were threatening to derail decrim efforts by legislators. 

In November, Senator Nick Scutari added an amendment that reduced the penalties for possessing up to an ounce of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, to the pot decriminalization bill in committee. While the Senate passed the amended measure, the Assembly canceled its vote and wouldn’t consider the bill.

Fortunately, that crisis has been avoided as lawmakers wisely opted to separate the two issues, giving psilocybin-law reform its own bill.

An earlier version of the decrim measure removed penalties for possession of up to a pound of Cannabis. But legislators compromised with the decriminalization of up to six ounces. The bill also allows for expungement of past pot possession records and even stops cops from using the smell of Cannabis to justify a search.

In addition to the marijuana decrim measure, lawmakers also passed the standalone psilocybin bill, which makes possession of up to an ounce of ‘shrooms a disorderly persons offense, punishable by fine and up to six months in jail. The penalty had been three to five years in prison, so there was a clear need to reform the law governing psilocybin as well.

About Mike Gianakos

Mike is the former editor-in-chief of High Times magazine, where he also spearheaded video and podcasting for the company. He has produced a number of Cannabis-related podcasts, including Free Weed, and is currently the producer and co-host of Grow Bud Yourself. Mike is the senior editor for Northeast Leaf magazine. Email story ideas to mikeg@leafmagazines.com

This article was originally published in the January 2021 issue of Northeast Leaf.

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