NJ marijuana mailbag: Illinois legal weed, edibles and delivery questions answered – Asbury Park Press

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Welcome to another edition of the Marijuana Mailbag, brought to you by your friendly neighborhood marijuana reporter at the Asbury Park Press and USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey.

And if you’re one of the millions of bennieslovely visitors reading this column on your way to the Shore for the Fourth of July (probably googling “is marijuana legal in New Jersey?”): Welcome back! Please stay out of the left lane, and pick up after yourselves on the beach.

No, weed isn’t legal here. Our legislators almost did it, but it became a whole … thing. There is a big new medical marijuana bill that would cover a lot of the same ground, but even that’s become a watered-down version of what it was supposed to do.  

“Drama” is quickly becoming the Garden State’s No. 1 export, sandwiched somewhere between “cranberries” and “Springsteen, Bruce.”

If you’ve got questions about legal weed, drop me a line via email or tweet me at @byMikeDavis. And don’t forget to check out the video version of this column at the top of the page for even more questions. 

(And it should go without saying, but: If you like reading about legal weed, illegal weed, medical marijuana and everything in-between Subscribe to the Asbury Park Press and USA TODAY NETWORK. We can’t do it without you.)

Here we go:

Q: Do you think Illinois legalizing recreational marijuana will help New Jersey leaders get their act together by learning how Illinois did it? (Jim S.)

A: I’m not sure it will, Jim. 

Even though Illinois is a state with more people (nearly 13 million) and a major metropolitan area of its own (Chicago), I don’t think that will have any effect on what happens here in New Jersey. 

Let’s take it from a business perspective: If you look at all the states with legal weed, you’ll notice a lot of repetition in the various dispensary or cultivation operators. The cannabis industry has no problem duplicating its efforts in multiple states, often at the same time. 

But the main reason I don’t expect Illinois marijuana legalization to have any effect here is simply the location. New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware — New Jersey’s neighbors — have all made various pushes toward marijuana legalization.

The fear of neighboring “competition” for dozens of new businesses and millions in tax revenue still wasn’t enough to give Gov. Phil Murphy or Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-Gloucester, the push to whip the votes in support of legal weed. 

So why should a state that’s a thousand miles away — and has objectively wrong opinions about pizza — make any difference?

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Q: What will the medical marijuana ‘manufacturers’ be allowed to actually manufacture? My understanding is that edibles are only legal for children in the medical cannabis program. (Joe G.)

A: Great question, Joe.

Simply put: Manufacturing is more than just turning pot into pot brownies. The process of extracting the THC (the psychoactive component from weed) from the cannabis plant and turning it into oil is pretty complicated, and it’s used to create vape cartridges and any other kind of marijuana extract. 

When I visited the Denver area last year as part of our “High Hopes” project (shameless plug), I got a look inside Purplebees, one of the biggest cannabis extract companies in the state. It’s not a home cook churning butter in a mixing bowl. Purplebees was a fully-functioning — and rapidly-expanding — manufacturing plant. Watch the video below for a look at the process of turning a cannabis plant into an edible.

I was shown jars of cannabis oil, some thick like peanut butter that would be used for edibles. Others were light and transparent, the kind that will become a vape cartridge. 

And remember: If the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act is signed into law, edibles will be legalized for all patients. 



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Got two minutes? Here’s a quick explanation of legal weed and how it’s made, from joints to edibles, from seed to sale to smoke. Mike Davis, @byMikeDavis

Q: How soon will the Honig Act changes go into effect, specifically edibles, deliveries and the easier requirements on doctor visits? (Reesa S.)

A: If Murphy signs it, the law would go into effect immediately — which means the existing dispensaries (they’re vertically integrated, with growing and manufacturing operations) could start producing edibles as soon as they’re ready. 

Doctors could authorize you for medical marijuana on the first visit, if they want. But remember: It’s up to them. While they may not have to prove a “bona fide” relationship to the state, doctors can still follow any treatment program they think is appropriate.

The deliveries would likely take a little bit longer. As written, the bill would allow medical marijuana dispensaries and third-party vendors to petition the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for a delivery license. 

Of course, there’s a big problem with that: The Cannabis Regulatory Commission doesn’t exist yet. The way the law is worded, it could take as long as 90 days before the CRC is formally established. 

And once the CRC is born, its members will still have a lot of housekeeping to get done — electing a chair, setting rules and regulations for dispensary operators — before they start accepting applications for delivery companies.

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Mike Davis writes about the seemingly never-ending push to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, including the effects it would have on the economy, the black market and regular people. No, he can’t tell you where to buy illegal drugs. Contact him at mdavis@gannettnj.com or @byMikeDavis.

Read or Share this story: https://www.app.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/marijuana/2019/07/01/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-illinois-legal-weed-vote-phil-murphy/1550132001/

This article originally appeared here in https://www.app.com/story/news/local/new-jersey/marijuana/2019/07/01/new-jersey-marijuana-legalization-illinois-legal-weed-vote-phil-murphy/1550132001/

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