New Jersey is another step closer to launching a marijuana industry, as a key lawmaker introduced a bill Friday that outlines how the potential multi-billion-dollar market will operate.
Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, introduced the legislation (S21/A21) late Friday evening. It largely pulls from the bill he sponsored last year to legalize marijuana. Lawmakers dropped the initial effort in late 2019 after failing multiple times to muster enough support to pass it.
Instead, they punted the issue to the voters in a referendum. That passed overwhelming, with two-thirds of voters saying yes on Tuesday.
“We are there,” Scutari said Friday. “We are at the goal line.”
The bill is scheduled for hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee on Monday. Lawmakers hope to have it pass both the full Senate and Assembly by Nov. 16.
The new, 206-page bill includes a lot of “hyper-technical” changes, but one substantive change, Scutari said. The medicinal marijuana license holders would be allowed to open two more cultivation sites, "to grow more and grow faster and get the adult market up and running,” even modestly, he said.
Current law limits them to one location for growing, but allows them to operate up to three dispensaries.