New Jersey Assembly Committee Passes Marijuana Sales Bill Despite Pushback From Equity Advocates

MJ moment

A New Jersey Assembly committee advanced an amended bill Thursday to enact a regulated marijuana market in the state. If a companion version is approved by a Senate panel later in the day, the legislation is expected to move on to floor votes in both chambers early next week. More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters passed a referendum on Election Day to legalize cannabis for adults, but state lawmakers still have to pass legislation to establish rules for the new system before legal sales can begin. That enabling measures, S21 and A21, were introduced just days after state voters overwhelmingly passed the constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana. Lawmakers have pushed to pass the legislation as soon as possible to ensure regulations are in place when legalization takes effect next year. The vote in the Assembly Appropriations Committee was 7 to 4, although some who voted yes acknowledged that the bill needs additional revisions. The Senate Budget and Appropriations committee is set to consider that chamber’s version this afternoon. “We’ve got to get this done by the end of the year,” the legislation’s lead sponsor, Sen. Nick Scutari (D), said at the Assembly panel hearing. “If we don’t, we’re going to run into a myriad of other problems.” But as lawmakers scramble to pass the measure, controversies over tax and social equity provisions are already slowing its progress. The budget committees were supposed to consider the bills last week after they were approved by other panels, but lawmakers deferred the votes due to disagreements over details. Since then, amendments have been added to the bill that supporters say would better address social justice advocates’ concerns. The changes add an excise tax to marijuana at the cultivation level on top of the state’s regular sales tax, and lift a cap on…

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Source : New Jersey Assembly Committee Passes Marijuana Sales Bill Despite Pushback From Equity Advocates

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