A recent decision by the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee has given the green light to growing medical marijuana on New Jersey farmland. Like many states throughout the country, New Jersey recently passed laws allowing the growth and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, with federal law still forbidding the production of marijuana, many state pot dispensaries are in a sort of legal limbo.
The decision by the SADC was an attempt to better define the ambiguities of the state and federal laws. In addition to clarification, the SADC decision was an attempt to settle several ongoing debates between marijuana producers and local New Jersey townships that are afraid of negative publicity and federal raids if marijuana producers are allowed to grow their crops openly.
The SADC ruling attempted to placate both sides. Marijuana, they decided, can be classified as a crop under sate statue and can be grown on farmland, including land preserved by New Jersey’s farmland preservation programs. However, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, the crop cannot be grown on farms that receive federal funds, and is not protected under the state’s Right to Farm laws.
The Right to Farm Act provides legal protection to New Jersey farmers from city ordinances and nuisance complaints. Without these protections, many municipalities will be free to prohibit the growth of marijuana within their local townships. However, several marijuana producers are still planning to go ahead with their operations, albeit while strictly abiding by local regulations.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer