New Jersey File Bill For Legal Sale Of Marijuana
Days after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum on legalizing marijuana, state lawmakers passed a new law outlining what a cannabis sales system will look like, including who will benefit from the planned billion-dollar market. On Monday, committees in the Senate and the National Assembly are scheduled to hold hearings to establish a regulatory framework for the new industry, including issues such as taxes and licenses.
The 216-page bill unveiled Friday provides a detailed description of how the marijuana market in New Jersey would work under the new law. Adults 21 and older could own and purchase up to an ounce of marijuana, or about 1.5 grams of cannabis oil, and purchase the product worth up to $100,000.
Retail stores would be allowed nationwide but could be banned by local jurisdictions, and delivery services could operate nationwide regardless of local bans.
Retailers could also operate locally as long as they had a permit on the spot, the bill said.
Existing medical marijuana dispensaries could be sold to adult users under the new licensing process, which is expected to last a year or more. The bill, known as the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Patient Protection and Safety Act, like most other states, would not allow the self-cultivation of cannabis. A Senate committee will also consider two separate bills on Monday to decriminalize cannabis possession in the short term.
We're at the goal line, "Scutari told NJ.com.
Lawmakers hope the bill, along with its counterpart in the National Assembly, will pass the full legislature by November 16. But efforts are already underway to get the law into the end zone. The ACLU of New Jersey wrote on Twitter Saturday that "the law was released less than 24 hours ago Friday and gave the public 0 business days to review 200 pages. Even supporters of the legalization referendum call the current version of Scutari's bill a missed opportunity.
Both Scutari and the governor have touted the benefits of legalization in both economic and social terms, but it seems that important provisions on racial and social justice need to be strengthened, rather than lacking. Among the criticisms raised in the bill are a lack of tax revenue to fund local police departments, licensing rules that appear to favor deep-pocketed companies, and concerns that customer ID cards could pose a threat to public safety and health. Much of the current bill stems from his earlier efforts to legalize cannabis, though senators have worked to update the legislation in recent months. The New York Times: "I'm sure more will come when we have completed our review.
We have made it clear that social justice will be a central goal, "Murphy said, according to the New York Times on Friday.