Earlier this week, Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steven Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senator Nicholas Scutari and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano jointly announced an agreement on the major outstanding issues for cannabis legalization: regulatory control and taxation. A new bill, that has not been publicly released, will be debated over the next two weeks in anticipation of a vote on March 25, 2019.
The new key anticipated provisions include:
- A five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, with three appointees from the governor’s office and one appointee each from the Senate President and Assembly Speaker. These commissioners will serve four year terms;
- A flat tax rate of $42 per ounce of cannabis on cultivators, which would be passed on to the consumer; and
- Revenue going to local municipalities that allow legal cannabis businesses, with tax revenues of 3% for dispensaries, 2% for cultivation and/or processing facilities and 1% for wholesalers.
This is a big step forward for cannabis legalization, but there is still more work to be done on the political side. According to reports from Trenton, there are not enough votes in either the Assembly or the Senate to pass the new legalization bill. Thus, New Jersey politicians have two weeks to whip the votes necessary to make legal cannabis a reality in New Jersey.
This blog will continue to follow New Jersey cannabis legalization developments as they unfold.
Alex concentrates his practice on business litigation and counseling. Alex is the author of the New Jersey Cannabis Counsel blog where he tracks and analyzes developments in New Jersey’s efforts to legalize recreational cannabis and the potential impact on cannabis businesses in New Jersey. Alex is also a member of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association.