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BIG MOVE TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA


New Jersey is set to make its biggest move yet toward legalizing marijuana. New details – including how pot could be taxed once it's available in stores. A public referendum on marijuana legalization is scheduled in December 2020. The bill, ACR840, would call for a vote to amend the State Constitution to legalize marijuana for personal, non-medical use by adults who are 21 years of age or older. ACR840 provides that all receipts from the retail purchases of marijuana should be subject to the sales tax, but New Jersey towns could add their tax as well. The municipal tax rate would not exceed 2 percent of the receipts from each sale. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Nicholas Scutari, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said recently that they will seek voter approval of a constitutional amendment to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Jersey. "We introduced legislation to authorize a public referendum for a proposal that will lead to the creation of a system that allows adults to purchase and use marijuana for recreational purposes in a responsible way."

The initiative will bring cannabis out of the underground so that it can be controlled to ensure a safe product, strictly regulated to limit use to adults and have sales subjected to the sales tax.

"We will have the Legislature vote on the plan during the current legislative session and expect the proposal to be on the ballot in 2020 when voter turnout will be maximized for the national election," Sweeney said. "We are confident it will be approved by the Senate, the Assembly and the voters."

Gov. Phil Murphy also released a statement: "My belief that our current marijuana laws have failed every test of social justice and that the right course is to legalize its use by adults has not changed. I am disappointed that we are not able to get this done legislatively and that our failed status quo – which sends roughly 600 people to jail a week for possession, the majority of the people of color — will continue. Moreover, I have faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November. By approving this ballot measure before the end of this legislative session, New Jersey will move one step closer to righting a historical wrong and achieving what I have spent more than three years advocating for."

When approved in November 2020, marijuana wouldn't be sold in stores for another six months to a year after that because of the lengthy regulatory process that needs to be developed.

The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in 11 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington), the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. Another 15 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized.

LOOK FOR NEW JERSEY TO BE NUMBER 12 AND THE BIGGEST IN THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR WITH SALES OF $1.2 BILLION by 2025 (includes illegal sales).


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