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New Jersey Implements Law Eliminating Employers Ability to Consider Marijuana Related Offenses

On February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed three cannabis reform laws into law.

These laws include: New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement, Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act,1 a decriminalization law,2 and a "clean up" bill3 that implements penalties for underage cannabis offenders. This News to Note addresses the employment implications specifically under the decriminalization law.

Section 15 of the decriminalization law states that when making employment decisions, employers are unable to "rely on, or require any applicant to disclose or reveal, or take any adverse action against any applicant for employment solely on the basis of any arrest, charge, conviction, or adjudication of delinquency[...] for the manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing, or possessing or having under control with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense marijuana." This also includes consideration of any "civil penalty or community service imposed in lieu of a civil penalty if the act was an unlawful act and not a crime or offense."

Employers who violate such requirements will be subject to civil penalties, enforced by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. Penalties are "not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation."

Clients are encouraged to reach out to account managers with any questions.

Posted: March 15, 2021


1 https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S0500/21_R2.PDF

2 https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/A2000/1897_R3.HTM

3 https://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2020/Bills/S3500/3454_I1.HTM


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