Vote set to legalize recreational marijuana on October 29th said Senate President Stephen Sweeney, which fits Governor Phil Murphy’s timetable before the year’s end.
With the mid-term elections out-of-the-way, and the Democrats more comfortable, the legislators have the momentum to grant Murphy’s wish and provide the state with a much-needed source of new taxable revenue.
Few issues remain, the most pressing in the amended version of the marijuana legalization bill that excludes the “reinvestment in communities harmed by the drug war” – and to help people in those communities seek employment in the cannabis industry.
Our location in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey of Atlantic County would benefit by the conclusion of the amendment. We also favor automatic expungement of marijuana convictions on the books and allow residents to grow marijuana at home. Such inclusions in the bill would level the playing field and offer a more significant number of citizens to participate.
For now, the multi-level process requires the re-introduction of the new and revamped bill. Legislators and Murphy are still at odds over facets of the bill, most important is the tax rate on legal marijuana. Settling at a 12 percent tax rate, which would be among the lowest taxes on marijuana in the United States, is not what the Governor wants. Murphy’s 2018-2019 budget projected a 25 percent tax rate. Negotiations continue with no clear winner. From our perspective, Murphy’s budget cannot absorb a lower number since the costs of running New Jersey are sky-high with no room to compromise. State legislators understand that taxpayers are crying for tax relief and can concede to Murphy’s wishes with a rolling scale down of rates over five years to gradually hitting the 12 percent target.
From our perspective, legal recreational marijuana in New Jersey would create more jobs, offer continuous tax revenue and a business platform to allow auxiliary industries to flourish in New Jersey