New Jersey Appeals Court Rules Federal Law Does Not Preempt State Cannabis Law

A New Jersey appeals court panel ruled earlier this month that the state’s Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) is not preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and that both can coexist, NJBiz reports. In the ruling, the panel wrote that “It is not impossible for New Jerseyans to comply with the CSA after the enactment of CREAMMA” because the state law “does not require any business to sell marijuana, or any municipality to adopt, as here, an ordinance to allow marijuana dispensaries within its borders.” 

The panel, however, warned that “residents and marijuana businesses of this state act at the risk that their activities might be prosecuted by federal authorities.” The judges also concluded that the plaintiffs provided no evidence that the New Jersey adult cannabis use law has impeded the enforcement of federal law.    

The plaintiff in the lawsuit was Mary Botteon, a resident who has filed other legal actions against the state and the town of Highland Park, where she resided, challenging CREAMMA. In February, she brought a separate lawsuit challenging Highland Park’s awarding of a license for cannabis distribution, arguing that the ordinances violate federal law.  

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