February 16, 2019
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and top New Jersey legislative leaders have reportedly reached a deal outlining how the state would tax and regulate marijuana, a crucial step in legalizing recreational marijuana across the Garden State.
The reported deal will tax marijuana per ounce rather than a sales tax, according to NJ.com. In November, a bill advanced in the state Senate and Assembly which included a 12 percent tax on the industry, statewide, and an extra two percent excise tax on towns that host cannabis business.
The flat per-ounce tax currently on the table, NJ.com reports, is $42 per ounce, regardless of the actual price of the ounce.
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari told NJ.com the deal isn’t “final” yet, but he did say the two “sticking points” — taxation and a commission for regulation — are where they need to be.
As far as regulation, the deal would have an independent commission in charge of regulating the industry. Murphy will reportedly appoint three of the five commission members, according to NJ.com.
And the third important part of the reported deal, expungements of prior marijuana convictions on criminal records, could reportedly see an expungement bill in the coming weeks.
The state Senate and Assembly, of course, both need to pass a potential bill before Murphy has a chance to sign recreational marijuana into law.
If the deal leads to a bill being passed in the coming weeks or months, New Jersey would become the 11th state in the United States to fully legalize marijuana.