Assembly Members Joann Downey and Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth) introduced legislation to allow adult-use and medical NJ home grow of cannabis into the Assembly.
Houghtaling and Downey represent the 11th Legislative District with Vin Gopal, who introduced a Senate NJ home grow bill last week. They all represent Asbury Park, a progressive bastion open to legalization.
The legislation, A. 5552, would allow people 21 and older to grow up to six plants for recreational use or up to 10 plants for medical use. A single household would not be permitted to have more than 12 plants.
The bill is called “Legalizes growing or possessing up to six marijuana plants for personal recreational use, and up to 10 plants for personal medical use, by persons aged 21 or older.”
There is no bill language or text to read yet.
“Allowing individuals to grow cannabis inside their homes will tremendously help those who have financial struggles and need to fill their prescription,” Downey said.
“Individuals are paying an exorbitant amount of money at dispensaries, and what they buy does not even fill their prescription. Allowing individuals to grow up to 10 plants for medical use will greatly benefit the individuals who are in pain both physically and financially,” she added.
“There is an issue at hand when we legalize marijuana. Yet we punish individuals for growing it in their own home. Growing even one plant can result in a first-degree crime punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison,” Houghtaling said. “This legislation will allow individuals the access to grow up to six plants for recreational use and ten plants for medical use in their own home. Without the threat of going to prison.”
The Politics of NJ Home Grow
“Home grow just makes sense. Let people be. They’re not hurting anyone. And if that helps, especially on the medical side as well, then we should embrace it,” Gopal said. “Allow people 21 and older to grow up to six plants for recreational use. Or up to 10 plants for medical use.”
NJ home grow is a politically contentious issue. Many grassroots advocates and Green Rusher entrepreneurs and professionals testified in favor of NJ home grow during the legalization hearings. Most of their pleas for a way to secure better, affordable cannabis fell on deaf ears. They told them it was too risky or they needed to wait.
In the wake of legalization, Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) introduced a medical home grow bill. Gopal signed on to that bill as well. He voiced support for NJ home grow last year. It will be interesting to see what happens to the two bills.
Longtime advocates revile Singleton’s longtime district mate Assemblyman Herb Conaway. They blame him for removing NJ home grow from the medical cannabis law CUMMA in 2010 at the eleventh hour. Advocates say Conaway did not like home grow because there was no money to make from it. Many argue that gardening supplies would generate a lot of business. There’s always a way for the State of New Jersey to make money.