TRENTON, N.J.- State legislators in New Jersey have released the details on a new cannabis legalization bill.
The bill departs from other state proposals to legalize cannabis in several key areas, including the approval of cannabis lounges. When legalization is debated in most states, the focus tends to be around taxes and permits, but practical issues, such as where someone can legally consume cannabis is usually an afterthought. When cannabis is legalized, people will smoke it. Period. Typically, the only legal places where individuals can consume cannabis is at home. For those who are not homeowners, they may not be able to consume cannabis in their residence if their landlord does not allow it. Tourists also face a problem because most hotels do not permit cannabis to be used in their rooms.
Under the new bill, dispensaries would be able to apply for public consumption licenses. The license would permit shops to set up a designated area for consumption on the same property, but detached from the dispensary. Both local and state officials would have to approve the permit.
The bill is significant for other departures as well. Cannabis deliveries by dispensaries would be permitted under the regulations. Governor Phil Murphy has signaled his support for deliveries in the past. For many patients unable to travel, cannabis delivery is often essential.
Entrepreneurs normally shut out from the industry could get a real chance to gain access. According to NJ.com, regulators would set aside 25 percent of retail licenses for women, minorities, or veterans. Overall, at least 10 percent of licenses would go to smaller micro-operations, businesses that require far less capital to start and operate than large-scale shops and grows.
Under this proposal, New Jersey would set the cannabis excise tax rate at 10 percent, the lowest in the country. This is lower than the 25 percent tax rate that Murphy suggested previously.
According to Rolling Stone, Murphy recently said he has “not hardened a position on taxes.”
“We typically don’t talk about legislation while they’re getting baked,” Murphy said. We assume he is not making a weed joke here. “We’re not ruling anything out. We want to get it right.”
Murphy made cannabis legalization a big focus of his campaign for the governorship. If recreational cannabis becomes legal in New Jersey, it would become the 10th state to do so.