Incoming New Jersey governor Phil Murphy campaigned on the promise of cannabis legalization and New Jersey lawmakers have once again introduced legislation to do just that.
On the first day the new Democrat-led state legislature convened, Democratic state Sen. Nicholas Scutari introduced a bill that would allow for the legal sale and usage of recreational marijuana. This is the same legislation introduced at the last session and Scutari had also put forth the measure in 2014.
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However, GOP Chris Christie was governor at the time and he’s made it known he is a staunch opponent of cannabis. Just last year Christie said it would be “beyond stupid” to legalize marijuana amidst the opioid crisis.
Under the proposed legislation, individuals could possess up to an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of cannabis-infused product in solid form, 72 ounces of liquid form, and seven grams of concentrate. The bill would ban open marijuana consumption as well as home growing operations. In addition, New Jersey could authorize licensing commercial cannabis grow and retail facilities within a year following the bill’s passage.
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Other highlights include instituting strict regulations on the production and sale of marijuana, providing municipalities the ability to adopt ordinances governing the operation or prohibiting, and establishing a sales tax rate of 7 percent in the first year that escalates to 25 percent in the fifth year.
Murphy will officially take office as New Jersey Governor on Tuesday.