New Jersey Legalizes Recreational Cannabis | TRICHOMES Morning Buzz
Cannabis News Update February 24, 2021
Today in the world of cannabis: New Jersey legalizes recreational cannabis, Illinois employers say that the state’s cannabis law has caused a 40% decrease in job offerings, and a new study indicates that cultivators breeding high-CBD hemp plants might be inadvertently breeding cannabis plants.
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** First up: It’s official, New Jersey has become the 13th U.S. state to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. This follows years of failed attempts to legalize cannabis statewide and disputes between New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the state legislature.
The cannabis legalization bills were approved by voters last year. The latest delay in signing the bills came through a disagreement with Gov. Murphy and state lawmakers in which Murphy insisted the bills include penalties for underage cannabis consumption. Lawmakers added the stipulation with 20 minutes left for the governor to sign the bills.
The recreational sale of cannabis is now permitted at state-licensed dispensaries. Adults age 21 or older are now permitted to carry up to six ounces of cannabis.
“Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis,” Murphy said. “Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible.”
** And next: WIFR reports that in the year since the state of Illinois legalized recreational cannabis, the new law has caused conflict with the policies of some companies in the state.
Melissa Ridgeway-Hagerman, branch manager at Manpower Employment Agency in Rockford, said that human resource employees have been facing issues with the new cannabis law, saying that many job applicants are failing drug screenings, making them unhirable.
“They’re like, what do you mean I failed? And we say, well you have marijuana in your system,” said Ridgeway-Hagerman. “Then they say, how is that failing? That goes over their head.”
“My recruiters are stretched pretty thin right now as it is, so we’re trying to help as many companies as we can,” said Matt Giebel of Express Employment Professionals. “Just to be safe, we can’t send somebody who failed the drug screen to operate machines or do anything dangerous.”
“Unfortunately, it is a pass or fail type thing,” added Giebel.
Giebel noted that approximately 40% of new applicants have failed their drug screenings.
“If you are seriously looking for a job, you need to keep yourself in check,” said Ridgeway-Hagerman.
** Last up: In a report by FOX 9, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the genetic makeup of high-CBD bred hemp plants would technically be classified as cannabis. The study, published in New Phytologist, indicates that cultivators breeding high-THC plants with hemp plants are creating new plants with high-CBD levels.
“This poses a challenge, though,” said study co-author and CBS graduate CJ Schwartz of Sunrise Genetics in a statement. “The genes that allow for the production of CBD are also a bit ‘leaky.’ This can result in about 5% of the product ending up as THC instead of 100% CBD.”
Under current federal regulations, CBD and hemp plants must have a THC level of 0.3% or less. Researchers say that as high-CBD plants reach maturation, they might end up exceeding the legal THC limit, putting farmers at risk of violating federal law, losing their crops or receiving fines.