Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders today confirmed they have reached an agreement on the main provisions of a bill to legalize recreational adult-use marijuana, setting up the possibility of a vote before the budget break at the end of next week.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senator Nicholas Scutari, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano joined Murphy in a press release announcing the main provisions of the bill. They include:
- a $42-per-ounce excise tax;
- a 2 percent municipal tax on product grown or manufactured within the town’s jurisdiction;
- a 1 percent municipal tax on wholesalers within a town’s district;
- a 3 percent local tax on product sold within their jurisdiction.
Adult-use marijuana would be governed by a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which would promulgate all regulations to govern the industry and oversee the applications for licensing of adult-use marijuana dispensaries.
“I believe that this legislation will establish an industry that brings fairness and economic opportunity to all of our communities, while promoting public safety by ensuring a safe product and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on serious crimes,” Murphy said.
“This plan will allow for the adult use of cannabis in a responsible way,” Sweeney said. “It will create a strictly regulated system that permits adults to purchase limited amounts of marijuana for personal use. It will bring marijuana out of the underground market so that it can be controlled, regulated and taxed, just as alcohol has been since the end of Prohibition.”
“The agreement reached to legalize adult-use cannabis is the result of incredibly hard work by many people over many months,” said Coughlin. “Getting to this point wasn’t easy.”
NJBIA will continue to push for employers’ rights to maintain a drug-free workplace, and will work with bill sponsors to ensure the bill makes it clear legalization does not change that.
Under current law, employers can prohibit employees from being at work under the influence of illegal drugs or of alcohol, and even legal medications if they are being abused. If an employee is suspected of being under the influence, the employer has the ability to require a drug test and to take appropriate action, including terminating their employment.
“For any legalization policy to be effective, employers must be able to maintain a drug-free workplace,” said Mike Wallace, NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs. “Employers continue to have this right in other states where marijuana has been legalized, including Colorado, California and Massachusetts.”