Of the many revisions to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act (S2703/A4497) which would legalize personal use cannabis for adults, one that has a large impact is the removal of a cap on the number of licenses to be issued.
Cannabis Regulatory Commission
To promote public trust, private investment and market stability, we need to create a system of accountability, adaptability and full transparency.
In the ’70s, Gov. Brendan Byrne established the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. The five-member commission brought autonomous regulatory oversight to the gambling industry. The authority of licensing and regulation was vested with the five commissioners and allowed the industry to adjust and operate fluently and efficiently.
While the governor and state legislators weigh the minimum wage bill, another pending piece of legislation moving forward in the state capitol would legalize the personal use of recreational marijuana for individuals who are 21 or older, though certain components of the proposed measure still need to be ironed out.
Two insiders with knowledge of the process told NJ Cannabis Media in essence the same thing: There appears to be too much work on key sticking points in the bills, particularly the adult-use legalization, and no clear-cut consensus that the bill will pass.
That work falls into two categories: 1. Issues with the details of the bill that have to be ironed out and 2. the politics of the bill.
The primary obstacle appears to be the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the proposed five-person body that will basically oversee all aspects of the cannabis industry in New Jersey.
Action on the measure came on the same day lawmakers also approved a bill that would legalize recreational pot for adults 21 and older.
Senate Bill 2703, better known as the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act”, would legalize the possession and personal use of an ounce or less of marijuana by adults 21 years of age and older. It would also create a regulatory system and impose a 12 percent commercial tax and an additional 2 percent excise tax for towns hosting cannabis businesses.
Deep in the legislation that lawmakers say will fix the perceived mistakes in the medical marijuana law is a nugget of hope for patients who do not qualify for the program yet.
The leader of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission -- the new entity that would be created by the bill to control the medicinal program and the hypothetical legal market-- would decide which conditions qualify for cannabis.
The Marijuana Act also contains provisions that would legalize and regulate weed delivery and public consumption spaces. Like California, Nevada and Oregon, licensed dispensaries could seek permission from the state to deliver cannabis products to their customers, one of the upsides of the current black market that legalization legislation hasn’t always addressed.
A big part of the latest bill is the establishment of a five-person Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which would be in charge of plenty of rule-making. The five commission members would be appointed by the governor – three with Senate consent, one with the Senate president’s consent, and one with the Assembly speaker’s consent.
The latest bill doesn’t set a limit on how many licenses the commission can issue to interested businesses. It does, however, mandate that the state set aside 25 percent of licenses for businesses owned by women, minorities, or veterans.
As much as some marijuana advocates want to be able to grow at home, this bill does not allow home-grow.
Lawmakers have said that it's a nonstarter.