Nearly 50 years later, the use of marijuana has spread from high school age kids taking illegal drags behind walls to a more front and center movement. While still prohibited by federal law (possession can lead to fines and jail time), today, forty-two states and the District of Columbia currently have laws legalizing marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
This state may become the 12th nationwide to legalize marijuana—but not until November 2020, when the state’s voters will decide the issue after legislators abandoned efforts during a lame-duck session to approve the issue after two years of political wrangling.
While some top political leaders held out hope of passage—including Gov. Phil Murphy—the state Senate, which fell a few votes short of passage in March, again was reported to lack a majority in favor of recreational marijuana.
New Jersey: Home of low taxes
The biggest change in the ballot measure concerns the tax structure — or lack thereof.
While legislators have called for levying legal weed taxes anywhere from 12% to 25% or placing a flat $42 per ounce rate, the ballot resolution specifically states that legal weed sales would only be subject to the New Jersey state sales tax.
That 6.625% tax rate would be the lowest marijuana tax in the United States, which Scutari said would help push customers away from the black market and into legal marijuana dispensaries.
While tax rates for products like beer and cigarettes often vary from state to state, Gov. Phil Murphy and his counterparts from nearby states are considering a regional approach to taxing legalized adult-use marijuana.
That was among the many issues that came up at a recent meeting of Murphy and the governors of Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania — three other states where legalization has been discussed but has yet to make it across the finish line.
The legalization of recreational cannabis can put a big dent in a state’s pre-existing medical marijuana market.
Patient counts in Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada and Oregon – the only states with both an active recreational marijuana industry and a pre-existing MMJ patient database – have all suffered in the months and years since the launch of an adult-use market in each.
In each state shown in the chart above, MMJ customers pay less in taxes than recreational consumers.
Under the measure, adults would be allowed to cultivate up to 10 plants in their homes for a $50 annual fee and all grows in the state would be capped at 150,000 square feet – an attempt to keep large, corporate, growers from monopolizing the industry. Micro-grow permits – up to 150 plants – would cost $250 annually, compared to $10,000 for large-scale grows, along with a $100,000 application fee.
The sales tax rate on medical cannabis dispensed by a medical cannabis dispensary or clinical registrant will be reduced to the following rates:
- 4%, effective July 1, 2020
- 2%, effective July 1, 2021
- Exempt, effective July 1, 2022
Illinois is poised to legalize marijuana sales with sweeping legislation that would also automatically expunge the criminal records of people convicted of minor pot possession.
State lawmakers gave final approval to the bill Friday and Gov. JB Pritzker said he will sign the measure, which make Illinois the first state to legalize marijuana sales via its legislature. Most other states that have legalized cannabis did so via a ballot initiative process. Vermont's legislature legalized cannabis but prohibited commercial sales.
DOVER — Puff, puff… pass?
Legislation introduced Thursday would make Delaware the 11th state with recreational marijuana, enabling individuals 21 and older to legally get high.
Lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to legalize pot last General Assembly, but the bill failed in the House in June. This measure shares the same number as the previous proposal — House Bill 110 — but contains plenty of differences.
Over a year after reform advocates first began predicting swift legislative victory, the recreational use of cannabis remains illegal in New Jersey, but efforts to legalize marijuana continue to push forward.
When Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney agreed on a $42 per ounce flat tax in February, legalization supporters once again hoped for quick adoption of New Jersey Assembly Bill 4497 (A4497). Once again, the much-publicized March 25th vote was called off due to lack of support. Now legislators have a limited window to act before the state budget deadline on July 1.