New Jersey lawmakers agree on recreational marijuana legalization bill

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Legislative leaders and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said they agreed on a compromise to establish the state’s recreational marijuana market, and a vote on the implementation bill is expected Dec. 17.

The compromise includes these points, according to

  • Only up to 37 cultivation licenses will be issued during the first two years of the adult-use program. The exception is microlicenses to businesses with 10 or fewer employees.
  • 70% of the sales tax revenue as well as revenue from a grower tax will be committed to programs aiding communities and individuals disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The programs will include mentoring, legal aid and health care.

New Jersey residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana on Nov. 3, but the legislative process has been delayed because of disagreements between the Assembly and Senate over cultivation license limits and social justice funding provisions.

Marijuana Business Daily projects that annual recreational cannabis sales in the state will reach up to $950 million by 2024. New Jersey also is expected to put pressure on neighboring states such as New York and Pennsylvania to legalize adult-use markets.

The New Jersey legalization bill is expected to be passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Dec. 14 and go for a full vote on Dec. 17, according to Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the bill’s sponsor.

Scutari has stressed the need to pass implementation language before Jan. 1, when the constitutional amendment takes effect.