Marijuana Legalization

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

Reports: NJ Lawmakers Reach Deal On Marijuana Taxation, Regulation

February 19, 2019 - 2:28 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- A vote on legal weed in New Jersey could come in the next few weeks as lawmakers hammer out a compromise.

New Jersey lawmakers at first said something should be done in the fall of 2018, then by the end of 2018 and now it looks like there may finally be some traction in Trenton with a plan for legal weed as lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy reportedly reach a deal on two big sticking points.

Marijuana legalization was one of Murphy's most prominent campaign promises, but it has been getting pushed back for months now. Murphy called a recent meeting with legislative leaders very constructive.

"I think, I would say optimistic, but we are still trying to machine this to get it over the goal line," Murphy said Tuesday. "We've said all along that this is not a light lift."

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin is also optimistic.

"We want to make sure we get it right and we want to make sure that we have a bill in place that people can support," he said.

Senate leaders and the governor's office had come to a stalemate on a potential sales tax rate, but reports indicate they have come to a creative solution that would scrap the sales tax and instead implement a tax on marijuana at $42 an ounce.

There also appears to be an agreement around how the industry would be regulated. According to reports, an independent commission will be set up with the governor appointing three of the five seats.

The one thing both sides agreed on from the start was expunging old marijuana convictions and that provision remains in there, WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported.

RELATED: New Poll Finds Majority In New Jersey Back Legalized Weed

So the big question now is when. It is not clear if the senators leading this effort have all the votes they need to pass the bill yet, but repost indicate a vote could be coming within the next couple of weeks.

Should that fail, then legislators may go to a backup plan, which is putting the question to voters on the November ballot.

Approximately 70 of New Jersey's 565 municipalities have opted out of the industry.