NJ Cannabis Media -
September 24, 2018

What’s being said about pending marijuana bill

Written by Marc Schwarz
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Here’s what some of the key players have said about the draft of Senate bill 2703, which will authorize the use of adult-use marijuana in New Jersey:

When legislation will be introduced:

State Senator Nicholas Scutari, one of the bill’s sponsors, “We’re not going to be taking it up on Monday. I would like to, but we’re not going to be.”

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the main sponsor of N.J.’s legal marijuana bill, said he expects the Legislature to vote in October, not September. But he said he doesn’t expect it to stretch into next year. “I think we’re gaining momentum. … We’re pretty close now.”

When marijuana would become available:

Senate President Stephen Sweeney on NJ101.5’s “Ask the Senate President,” “Not a chance” it would be legal by Jan. 1, 2019. “We’re going to have to have a lag. We can’t bring recreational right in, right now, because we have to make sure we have enough supply for medical. A lot of places where they brought both, the medical has suffered.”

On the issue of tax rates:

Governor Phil  Murphy, during an unrelated press conference in Carteret, “We’ve not hardened a position on taxes on legal [cannabis]. This is a little bit like sports betting. We want to make sure, if we’re going to do it, we eliminate to the best of our abilities the black market. I’m not ruling anything out.”

Sweeney, “My concern is if we tax it too high, you’re going to drive people back to the black market. It’s like sports betting. If you tax it too high, people aren’t going to do it. They’re just going to stay with the same behavior that they had before.”

Michael Cerra, assistant executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, “It is our belief that 2 percent is insufficient to offset costs and is an incentive for municipalities to opt out. Enforcement will fall almost entirely on municipal governments, which will need to absorb costs associated with law and code enforcement, health services, education and social services.”

Eliminating taxes on medical marijuana:

Sweeney, “We want to get to the point where we eliminate the tax on medical, so we don’t tax any medical … prescriptions.”

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