New Jersey Lawmakers Eye Bill Allowing Adults To Grow Pot At Home

Could New Jersey residents soon be allowed to legally grow marijuana at home? CBS2's Meg Baker reports.

Video Transcript

- There's a new push underway in New Jersey to allow residents to legally grow marijuana at home.

- It comes just weeks after Governor Murphy signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. CBS 2's Meg Baker has more.

VIN GOPAL: To truly legalize cannabis, home grow should be an option.

MEG BAKER: State Senator Vin Gopal is sponsoring a bill to allow anyone 21 and older to grow up to six marijuana plants at home.

VIN GOPAL: It's no different than other states like California who have adopted this. The reality is as a country and as a state, we've spent billions of dollars on the failed war on drugs. And this is just one piece of making sure that it's truly legalized.

MEG BAKER: Police can no longer arrest people for possessing marijuana. But there is no legal way to buy it right now. Marijuana industry expert Mike McQueeny says this could be a quicker way to access legal weed. Setting up dispensaries will take much longer.

MIKE MCQUEENY: It's gonna take at least six months to make our initial rules and regulations. And then only at that point will they start soliciting adult use licenses. And then it'll take another 90 days for those licenses to get considered. Only then can they start the process of opening up.

MEG BAKER: Medical patients could grow up to 10 plants. Ken Wolski, executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana, has been pushing for this to open up access to more than 100,000 patients who only have 14 alternative treatment centers to choose from.

KEN WOLSKI: And we have some of the most expensive medical marijuana in the country. So many patients are just-- you know, have already been impoverished by their illnesses that they simply cannot afford this medicine.

MEG BAKER: There is a question of safety.

MIKE MCQUEENY: 67% of New Jerseyans voted yes for adult use cannabis. You know, they were voting yes towards, you know, safe and regulated cannabis, not the wild west.

MEG BAKER: State Senator Gopal says it would be up to local municipalities whether or not to allow dispensaries or growers. In New Jersey, Meg Baker, CBS 2 News.

- Currently anyone caught growing five or fewer plants faces a fine of $25,000 and possible jail time of three to five years.