Our "Wait 'til After the Election" article of March 22nd rung true. After months of intense debate and lobbying from both sides, legislation that would have legalized adult-use cannabis in New Jersey failed. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who campaigned hard on legalization, was told to "slow down!" Passage of the bill would have made New Jersey the 11th state to legalize cannabis for adult-use. And though Murphy made it a key piece of his campaign, our proprietary SP+GTM algorithm pointed to a "no vote" from day one.
We stated from the outset that legalized cannabis for adult use via its state legislature would not happen in New Jersey. Only one legal-cannabis state—Vermont— was successful with that route. All other legal states have ended prohibition through ballot initiatives. With 60 percent of the Garden State’s residents support legalizing weed, the November ballot box is the best option.
Murphy and top Democratic lawmakers have been seeking for more than a year to have New Jersey join ten other states and Washington, D.C., that have legalized pot. But they prefer to become only the second state to do it legislatively, rather than through a ballot referendum.
Monday’s decision to call off cannabis votes in the capital was also bad news for the state’s 43,000 medical cannabis patients, who currently pay up to $520 per ounce—plus sales tax. While other states have seen prices fall after legalization, New Jersey’s medical program has matured much more slowly than most. Nearly ten years after medical cannabis became law, there are still only six dispensaries across the entire state.
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