On Monday, Nov. 26, two panels in New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to approve three new cannabis bills -- one of which aims to legalize adult-use marijuana.
Marijuana Tax Rate
The next stop for S2703 is a full floor vote in both the Senate and the Assembly. And if it passes, it will head to the desk of Gov. Murphy for signing. Murphy, who voters elected on a progressive campaign that included a massive medical cannabis program expansion and the promise of adult-use legalization, has so far wavered on his support for this particular bill.
Recreational marijuana sales in Michigan will rake in $89 million in tax revenue for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2019, according to estimates by the state's Senate Fiscal Agency.
After funding implementation and enforcement, 70 percent of the remaining tax revenue from marijuana sales will go to schools and infrastructure repair and 30 percent will go to counties and municipalities with marijuana businesses.
The New Jersey government estimated that recreational marijuana would bring in $60 million in tax revenue before June 30 of next year alone.
The bill proposes legalization for any adult 21 and older with possession of up to one ounce and would impose a 12 percent tax on the industry statewide. Towns that host cannabis businesses would also absorb an extra 2 percent excise tax, according to NJ.com.
Who can smoke pot legally under the proposed legislation?
Senate Bill 2703 would make recreational cannabis legal for adults 21 years and older. It would prohibit adults from buying and giving pot to anyone under the legal age, including children with medical conditions. Those patients would need permits under the state’s medicinal program.
But legalizing marijuana in the state is still far from a done deal. Senate President Steve Sweeney told The Record Monday that he won’t put the measure up for a vote in the upper house until it receives the endorsement from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Murphy and Sweeney have been at odds over how much the state should tax marijuana sales, with Sweeney pushing for a 12 percent rate and Murphy hoping for the state to take an even bigger bite.
Sweeney says the 12 percent rate — which would be one of the lowest in the country — is needed to discourage black market sales.
The measure has been debated privately in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature for years, but never stood a chance of becoming a reality under former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who stood in staunch opposition.
But with a change in leadership 10-months ago in Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who campaigned on legalizing cannabis, lawmakers are finally set to put the process in motion.
State lawmakers on Wednesday presented the latest plan to legalize recreational marijuana for people at least 21 years old.
Discussion on the joint Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committee is anticipated to begin on Nov. 26.
The proposal includes a 12-percent tax rate on cannabis. The 12-percent rate also is subject to the state’s current 6.625-percent sales tax and allows municipal governments to establish up to a 2-percent tax.
The latest version of the bills aren’t especially different from earlier versions, but there are some changes such as a provision calling for the establishment of a five-member commission tasked with regulating the legal industry. The structure of that commission is opposed by New Jersey Gov.