October 01, 2018, New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers are currently working on drafting the bill to legalize recreational cannabis. But even before the materialization of anything, 36 town administrations all across different state counties have taken measures to put a stop to the legalization. Experts think that this preemptive strike by town administrations was actually stemmed from the provision of legalization draft that allows local administrations to devise their own cannabis regulations.
Of all these 36 towns, some have already passed the ordinances to ban commercial cannabis operations in their respective jurisdictions. On the other hand, some have opposed the legalization, but not categorically disallowed the commencement of commercial cannabis operators.
Decentralization of legislative powers is not always a good idea. Case in point is cannabis legalization that can become significantly ineffective due to local law alterations. We are already experiencing this in California where some counties have banned commercial cannabis operations. Consumers in those counties had to travel long distances in order to get their stuff. The ban on home delivery services has only added insult to injury.
Lawmakers in New Jersey still have time to decide if they really want to see their cannabis reforms getting thwarted by local laws.
A draft bill is circulating in the news
Local media outlets have a shared an adult-use legalization draft, which has been purportedly written by the state lawmakers. Besides legalizing the consumption, possession, and sales of the strain for citizens 21 and above, the draft also includes stipulations, making it a quite progressive and business-friendly legislation.
For instance, the bill specifically warrants implementing lower tax rates of about 10 percent on retail operations of adult-use cannabis. If this gets through, it will be the lowest retail tax rate in the entire country among all legal states. Apart from businesses, cannabis advocates also call for lower tax rates for a new cannabis industry. They assert, and rightly so, that higher tax rates increase the prices of the end product, which inadvertently goes in the favor of the black market offering relatively cheap prices.
In addition, the proposed draft takes care of the legal supply chain of cannabis from the onset. Many states have faced this issue where they legalized marijuana but didn’t put up the corresponding supply chain. The draft also adds the stipulation of home delivery to the retail operations. The ban on public consumption is an ongoing issue in many legal states. New Jersey’s adult-use legalization draft also addresses this by allowing business to open cannabis cafes and smoking lounges.
The draft also calls for implementing licensing provisions that would create equal opportunities for everyone by setting aside 25 percent licenses for women, minority communities and veterans. Similarly, 10 percent of licenses will be allocated to micro business operators.
The state governor Phil Murphy, who himself is a cannabis advocate, has directed the lawmakers to finalize adult-use legalization before the end of the year. Experts are hoping that the state legislature will work out the final legalization draft by the next month.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]