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New Jersey Takes A Step Forward With Marijuana Legalization

November 26, 2018 5:47 pm
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New Jersey Takes A Step Forward With Marijuana Legalization

New Jersey is on path to become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana. A joint Assembly and Senate committee voted Monday on a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana and impose taxes on sales.

What Happened

The legalization of recreational marijuana is one bill in a package of amendments to New Jersey cannabis Law. More specifically, bill S2703 would legalize cannabis use for people over 21 years and imposes a 12 percent state tax, while also allowing local municipalities to levy another 2 percent tax. The bill also allows possession of up to one ounce of flower.

Two other bills, S10 and S2426 allow higher possession for medical patients and mandate the issuing of 34 new licenses for medical marijuana.

The fourth bill, S3205, focuses on expungements and would make more crimes eligible for expungement, including those involving controlled dangerous substances. The bill would also cut the wait time down to five years and includes a "clean slate" process, which would wipe away all offenses for anyone with a clean record for 10 years. 

The bill for the legalization was passed by the Senate budget committee with seven votes in favor, with two against and two abstentions. The Assembly committee also passed the package with seven votes.

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What's Next

After the bill cleared the joint committee, it will be released to the full Legislature, which is expected to vote on it next month. After that, Gov. Phil Murphy will sign it into law. However, Murphy has not openly endorsed the bill, although he has spoken in favor of legalization.

If the legalization bill is signed into law, New Jersey will become the 11th state to fully legalize cannabis. It will also be the state with one of the lowest effective tax rates.

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