New Jersey has notoriously high property taxes, and though they vary address to address, as a whole, New Jerseyans pay 2.4 percent tax compared with the national average of 1.19 percent. Apparently, that statistic has a lot of Garden State residents in the mood for legal weed, especially if it will lower said taxes.
According to a private survey obtained by NJ Advance Media and conducted for Nuka Enterprises, a marijuana-based food products company, 44 percent of those polled were in favor of legalizing cannabis, whereas 31 percent were opposed. That was in general.
When the surveyors upped the stakes and asked if people would support legalization if it meant lower property taxes, 53 percent shot up in favor and those opposed went down to 24 percent. As bills are being written and rewritten to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, legislators would do well to remember these stats when drafting.
A large part of Phil Murphy’s gubernatorial platform was legalizing cannabis for New Jerseyans. He envisioned fairer law enforcement, taking a bite out of the black market and bringing in revenue for the state. However, his proposed state budget back in March estimated that the initial revenue from the taxing of recreational cannabis would be $60 million. Not a high number comparatively, should lawmakers go that direction.
But, although Murphy campaigned on revenue, his real focus was social justice and the disproportionate amount of black and brown persons being arrested when numbers show that — white, black or brown — we all use cannabis at about the same rate.
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In the recent survey, however, when asked if the person thought that minority populations are most impacted by drug laws, only 39 percent responded that they strongly agreed with that assertion. According to the ACLU, “Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.”
These are numbers that need to get out to the public if they are to vote with their hearts as well as their pocketbooks. Money talks though, and in the age of the Green Rush, it’s no wonder that New Jersey residents are so ready to change their tune on cannabis if it means lower property taxes. Now it’s a waiting game to see what legislation comes about and if Jerseyans will have a true green state in the near future.