As you know, cannabis legislation in New Jersey is ever-changing. Since Governor Phil Murphy took office, he’s made cannabis a top priority, and there’s been many conversations about what exactly legislation would look like in the Garden State. But where are we now?
After many months of silence and minimal detail on New Jersey’s plan for cannabis, lawmakers presented a bill late last month. The bill calls for legalization of possession and use of a regulated amount of cannabis for people 21 or older. When the bill passes, the legalization will immediately take effect, but it’s expected to take a year for New Jersey’s cannabusiness industry to take shape.
Rather than being limited to use of marijuana at your residence only, the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey would allow use at facilities with a marijuana retail license. These businesses would need a space separate from the dispensary itself, allowing for consumption separate from their typical storefront. But it doesn’t stop there; these businesses will also offer cannabis delivery. It’s possible the cannabis businesses with retail licenses will provide so many options for cannabis users to enjoy their products because home-grown marijuana will not be legalized if the proposed bill stays as is.
On the business side, there are regulations for where and who owns licenses. There’s a mandate stating that 25 percent of licenses must be given to women, minorities, and veterans. Additionally, micro-licenses will be offered to small businesses, and the industry must have a minimum of 10 percent micro-licenses in the state. As for where, 25 percent of licenses must be given to people who have lived in an area with a high unemployment rate for a minimum of three years.
The marijuana tax in the new bill would give New Jersey the lowest marijuana tax in the country, with a fixed 10 percent tax. Many people have speculated this tax will change to be more in-tune with other states, meaning the tax may be somewhere between 15 and 25 percent.
Currently, the cannabis bill is awaiting Governor Phil Murphy’s feedback. As a big supporter of legalizing cannabis, Murphy said he’s looking for cannabis legislation in New Jersey that expands the medical marijuana program, closes the racial gap of people jailed for marijuana possession, and removes criminal records for those arrested for cannabis-related offenses that would be legal with the new bill.
Last week, Senate President Steve Sweeney announced October 29 is his goal for bringing the cannabis bill to a vote in the Assembly and Senate. Until then, we can expect to hear a little more about the proposed cannabis legislation in New Jersey, such as tweaks requested by the Governor. But all eyes will be on the vote when the end of October hits.
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