New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

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Gov. Murphy, New Jersey Legislature, Agree On Details For Bill To Legalize Marijuana

March 12, 2019 - 9:55 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders announced an agreement finalizing details of a bill to allow the sale of recreational marijuana in New Jersey.

Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senator Nicholas Scutari, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano announced in a press release that they had agreed on tax rate, regulatory structure, and expungement provisions.

Adult-use marijuana will be subject to a $42 per ounce excise tax, imposed when cultivated.

“This plan will allow for the adult use of cannabis in a responsible way,” said Sweeney. “It will create a strictly regulated system that permits adults to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. It will bring marijuana out of the underground market so that it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been since the end of Prohibition."

Municipalities home to a cultivator will receive revenue from a 2 percent tax on the product within their justifiction, with a 1 percent tax for those home to wholesales, and a 3 percent tax in homes for retailers.

Additionally, low level marijuana convictions will be able to be expunged, but people will have to come forward to ask to have their record cleaned.

"Legalizing adult-use marijuana is a monumental step to reducing disparities in our criminal justice system," said Murphy. "I believe that this legislation will establish an industry that brings fairness and economic opportunity to all of our communities, while promoting public safety by ensuring a safe product and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on serious crimes."

The next step towards passage is for them to secure the votes.

They are reportedly six short in the Senate and three short in the Assembly.

For more than a year, state leaders have been negotiating just how to regulate and tax marijuana sales to people 21 and over.

Murphy predicts that marijuana will be ready to purchase early next year.

He also believes the price, which is about  $400 per ounce, for medical marijuana, wll come down.

The final sticking point, sources say, was over who gets to make and approve appointments to a regulatory commission.

Supporters of the bill need to move fast, as March 25 is the target date for a vote before budget talks take over Trenton.