New Jersey warns: Marijuana isn't legal yet

Although New Jersey voters on Tuesday strongly backed the legalization of recreational marijuana use, state officials are warning people to not light up just yet.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday echoed a statement that Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued the day before: That recreational weed isn't legal yet and may not be for a year or so.

"All of the State's criminal laws relating to marijuana continue to apply," Grewal said in the statement. "It is important that residents accurately understand the current situation, so they do not inadvertently engage in criminal conduct relating to marijuana."

Grewal's statement pointed out that although the constitutional amendment takes effect on Jan. 1, 2021, the next step is for lawmakers to authorize a regulated marketplace for cannabis. The so-called unregulated sale and use of marijuana is and will remain illegal.

Murphy agreed with the attorney general's statement and added that he expects law enforcement and prosecutors to exercise their judgment about potential marijuana cases.

The governor said he supported the constitutional amendment for reasons of social justice, racial justice, and economic justice.

With The Associated Press