Social justice, tax money, and other issues
Racial justice advocates objected to the bill’s allocation of only 15% of cannabis business licenses to minority applicants. They also opposed Scutari’s plan for the cannabis tax revenue, which would fund local police departments instead of supporting low-income neighborhoods disproportionately targeted and harmed by the War on Drugs.
Equity advocates pushed for language ensuring that people with past convictions for cannabis will not be excluded from the legal industry, and for additional funding to expunge criminal records related to cannabis.
Ban homegrow? Hold on…
At the same time, advocates for patients and consumers objected to Scutari’s proposed ban on home cultivation, which is allowed in 12 of the 14 other states with recreational cannabis laws.
For the time being, amid all these objections, the bill has been held up in negotiations.
A new version emerges, but it’s unclear
Those negotiations, according to reporting by NJ Cannabis Insider, have resulted in an amended plan that would, among other things, offer additional job protection for workers who use cannabis, and impose a tax on cultivators that could one day bring in $450 million in annual revenue, with that money “earmarked for programs in minority communities disproportionately affected by the drug war.”
No word has emerged on any potential changes to equity licensing, eliminating funding to police, or any provisions to support home grow, though all three issues remain under discussion.
A vote on the updated bill is tentatively scheduled for Monday.