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SMOKE IS IN OUR EYES


The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey had been given to the voter to decide. Based on GREENMARK 101 68 percent of NJ voters want marijuana legal. With the state's running out of money from fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential revenue from adult marijuana sales is more needed than ever, especially with a likely 14% hike in property taxes.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS

The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment is on the ballot in New Jersey as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

  • "yes" vote supports this constitutional amendment to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana.

  • "no" vote opposes this constitutional amendment to legalize the possession and use of marijuana and the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana in New Jersey.


OVERVIEW

The ballot measure would add an amendment to the state constitution that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, also known as cannabis, for persons age 21 and older and legalizes the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana. The constitutional amendment would take effect on January 1, 2021. ***


The ballot measure would not provide additional specifics, such as possession limits, home-grow rules, and retail regulations; rather, the legislature and CRC would need to enact additional laws and regulations.


HOW WE GOT HERE

On December 16, 2019, the New Jersey State Legislature passed a resolution placing the constitutional amendment on the ballot. Most legislative Democrats (72 of 79) supported the resolution, and most legislative Republicans (36 of 41) opposed the resolution. The constitutional amendment is the first legalization measure that a state legislature has referred to voters. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-3) and Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-22) introduced the resolution after the legislature failed to pass a statute to legalize marijuana. Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who was elected in 2017, campaigned on marijuana legalization. Sweeney said his goal was to get a marijuana legalization bill passed within 100 days of Murphy's term. On November 18, 2019, Sweeney and Scutari issued a joint statement, saying, "... we recognize that the votes just aren’t there. We respect the positions taken by legislators on what is an issue of conscience." The co-sponsors said they were confident that legislators would pass a constitutional amendment instead, which would leave legalization up to voters. Gov. Murphy said that while he preferred legislation over a ballot measure, he had "faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November."


CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The State commission created to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal use cannabis market. Cannabis products would be subject to the State sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.


The Cannabis Regulatory Commission would oversee the new adult cannabis market. This commission was created in 2019 to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program. The scope of the commission’s new authority would be detailed in laws enacted by the Legislature.

All retail sales of cannabis products in the new adult cannabis market would be subject to the State’s sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.


The proposal's contents included:

  • Did not allow for the cultivation of cannabis for personal use.

  • New Jersey adults 21 or older could legally possess cannabis up to one ounce, and could possess edible cannabis products up to 16 ounces, cannabis-infused drinks and oils up to 72 ounces, and concentrates up to seven ounces.

  • Sales tax would be imposed on cannabis products. The taxes for the first and second years would be seven and 10 percent respectively, with the tax progressively increasing by five percent each year until reaching 25 percent after four years.

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*** note: The five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which was first established to oversee the state's medical-marijuana program, would be responsible for regulating the cultivation, processing, and sale of recreational marijuana. The ballot measure would apply the state sales tax (6.625 percent) to recreational marijuana but prohibit additional state sales taxes. The state Legislature would be authorized to allow local governments to enact an additional 2 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

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