Lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on what exactly cannabis legalization will look like in New Jersey.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) announced on Tuesday that he has reached an agreement on recreational cannabis legalization with Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D) and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D). The three legislators have been trying to reach a consensus on how recreational cannabis should be regulated in the Garden State for some time now. But now it looks like those discussions have finally come to a successful conclusion.
"After months of hard work and thoughtful negotiations, I'm thrilled to announce an agreement with my partners in the Legislature on the broad outlines of adult-use marijuana legislation," Gov. Murphy said in a statement.
While the exact details of the pending bill have not yet been revealed, Murphy said provisions will be included to help women and people from minority groups break into the industry. The legislation would also establish an expedited expungement process for low-level cannabis conviction.
"Legalizing adult-use marijuana is a monumental step to reducing disparities in our criminal justice system," said Murphy.
The new legislation will also place a state tax of $42 per ounce of cannabis. Local government will then be able to collect taxes of three percent from retailers, two percent from wholesalers and one percent from cultivators located with in their municipalities.
Sweeney has suggested the legislation will be voted on by both the Assembly and Senate by March 25. However, it will still take some time to get the new industry off the ground. Murphy estimated that legal cannabis sales in the Garden State would be an "early next year reality."
If the New Jersey lawmakers do pass the proposed bill, they would become the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis and only the second state to do so through the state legislature rather than via ballot initiative.
h/t Marijuana Moment