The debate in New Jersey over how and when cannabis could or should be legalized continues to take place in Trenton. Earlier this year, sentiment began to grow for the first time that if progress was not made, legalization could potentially be turned over to a ballot question. Cannabis could still be legalized through a ballot question, but that would be a more complicated legislative process that would be delayed until possibly 2020.
Taxes continue to be an issue. Senate President Sweeney will not agree to an excise tax on legal cannabis above 12%. Governor Murphy wants the tax rate to be 25%. Clearly, there is a significant gap, but a current proposal to attempt to bridge the gap is to tax cannabis by weight, and not on each individual sale. It remains to be seen whether this tactic will be successful.
One area where progress is being made is the regulation of cannabis. While once a sticking point with the administration, Governor Murphy has softened on the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, so long as his appointees are fairly considered. This represents forward progress in the cannabis legalization debate.