Will New Jersey become next state to fully legalize marijuana? It’s one of four that could take the step this year. On November 3, New Jersey voters will decide on Question 1, a constitutional amendment to legalize for adults over 21. The result will have an enormous impact in a state that arrests about 100 people every day on marijuana charges.
The New Jersey legislature—having failed to pass a legalization bill two years in a row—voted in December 2019 to put the question directly to voters this year. Question 1 would legalize the cultivation, processing and retail sale of marijuana, taking effect on January 1, 2021. The state’s existing medical marijuana regulatory board would assume responsibility for regulating recreational marijuana.
Question 1 would additionally collect a 6.625 percent state sales tax on marijuana sales, and local governments could be authorized to collect an additional 2 percent sales tax. The amendment does nothing else besides this, and the state legislature and regulatory board would then need to pass and implement additional regulation governing the new industry.
Legalization advocacy group NJ CAN 2020—a coalition including the ACLU, the NAACP and medical and cannabis industry representatives—kicked off a voter education campaign on September 10. Given the pandemic, it’s focused on phone and digital organizing, including virtual events and conferences, to reach voters.