New Jersey Unlikely To See Legal Marijuana Sales Until January 2020

February 22, 2019 - 6:45 pm

TRENTON (WCBS 880) — Legal sales of marijuana in New Jersey will have to wait until next year at the earliest.

According to state Senate president Stephen Sweeney, bills still need to be finalized, some lawmakers will still need to be convinced and regulations need to be set before sales can ever begin.

The news Friday came after it was rumored that there has been an agreement in place on some of the bill’s big issues, including the tax rate in a regulatory commission.

However, another large issue prevent sales in the state has been erasing prior marijuana convictions.

“It puts up significant hurdles for people,” said Dianna Houenou, of the New Jersey ACLU.

Currently, it costs at least $200, but likely more if hire an attorney, to navigate the complicated process for erasing a marijuana conviction.

Houenou adds that the process also included mailing “certified documents to multiple law enforcement agencies all across the state.”

Around 10,000 people file for expungement every year and there's a backlog with an equal amount, according to Houenou.  

Marijuana legalization could throw hundreds of thousands more into the process, and some feel the expungement burden should be on the state of New Jersey.

“What we would like to do in New Jersey is to eliminate some of that paper work and streamline the process a little bit,” Houenou said.

New Jersey Senate president Sweeney did say that reports of a longstanding disagreement over how to tax legal weed sales has been resolved, and the agreement calls for a flat tax rate of $42 dollars per ounce.