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NJ lawmakers are high on their latest pot bill – here are the details

September 18, 2018 - 3:35 pm
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TRENTON, NJ (1010 WINS) -- Lawmakers in New Jersey have a legal marijuana bill they say has high odds of passing

The plan would make New Jersey's the lowest marijuana tax in the country, and allow for weed delivery along with consumption outside of the home, NJ.com reported.

The new bill calls for a 10 percent tax on grass in the Garden State -- previous bills included taxes of 15 and 25 percent. The tax rate on pot has been a point of contention between Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey lawmakers, but the governor stopped short of taking a hard position on a number.

“We’re not ruling anything out. We want to get it right.” Murphy said.

While most states with legal pot don't allow smoking outside the home, NJ.com reports the New Jersey bill would let retailers apply for permission to consume on the premises. This permission would have to be approved by the state and local government. Those businesses would also be able to apply for permission to operate a delivery service like the ones found in California, Nevada, and Oregon.

The bill does not put a cap on the number of businesses that could sell weed in New Jersey.

Social Justice has been an issue at the forefront of the legal marijuana debate. Under the proposed legislation, at least 25 percent of licenses would be set aside for businesses owned by women, minorities, or veterans. Sen. Nicholas Scutari wants licensing preferences given to areas where poverty and marijuana arrests have disproportionately affected minorities. While the bill does not address arrest expungement for low level marijuana offenders, Assemblyman Jamel Holley says the final draft will have expungement language.

The bill also includes a provision for micro-licenses that would give small businesses an opportunity to jump into the market.

There's one little nugget rolled up in the bill that might harsh a mellow or two; home growing will not be allowed -- lawmakers have called it a 'non-starter.'

NJ.com reports a vote on the issue probably won't happen before the end of October, as lawmakers are awaiting feedback from the governor and expect to have multiple hearings before holding a vote. If passed, a commercial market for marijuana could exist in about a year.