Marijuana Tax in New Jersey? It Could be $42
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 Marijuana Tax in New Jersey? It Could be $42
Posted by CN Staff on February 19, 2019 at 15:17:54 PT
By Nick Corasaniti
Source: New York Times 
New Jersey -- Gov. Philip D. Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders in New Jersey have reached an agreement that could place the state on a path to legalizing recreational marijuana this year if they are able to win enough support in the state legislature.The agreement, which establishes how marijuana would be taxed and sets parameters on a committee to regulate the drug, marks a significant step forward for Mr. Murphy’s promise to introduce the roughly $50 billion national recreational cannabis market to a major population center on the East Coast and on New York City’s doorstep.
But while the state legislature is controlled by Democrats and has embraced a progressive agenda, such as raising the minimum hourly wage to $15, efforts to legalize marijuana has divided lawmakers. Some African-American legislators, led by Ronald L. Rice, a state senator from Newark, are wary of supporting legalization because of the impact it may have on low-income and minority neighborhoods. Also, most Republicans in both chambers oppose legalization.“The most important aspect of it is we don’t necessarily have all the votes lined up yet,” said Nicholas Scutari, a state senator from northern New Jersey who has been the architect of a bill to legalize marijuana.Mr. Murphy said on Tuesday he’s optimistic that the legislation could get passed.“We’re still trying to machine this to get it over the goal line, but I think we’re all working really hard to get this done,” Mr. Murphy told reporters. “We’ve said all along that this is not a light lift.”Craig Coughlin, the speaker of the Assembly, said the legalization effort is a major undertaking.“This is a seismic shift in public policy and the creation of a new industry,” Mr. Coughlin said. “Those are both demanding items, and so we want to make sure we get it right and we want to make sure that we have a bill in place that people can support.”In the Assembly, whose members face an election year in November, some Democrats are concerned about how a vote for legalizing marijuana could affect their campaigns.A poll from Monmouth University released on Monday may ease their anxiety. According to the poll, 62 percent of residents support legalizing recreational marijuana while 32 percent oppose the idea.With New York also considering legalizing recreational marijuana, a speedy passage of legislation is a concern for New Jersey, according to the poll.“A major reason for public support of the current proposal is the expectation it will boost tax revenues,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The pressure is on, with nearby states also looking into legalization. New Jersey will need to stay ahead of the curve if it wants to maximize the expected economic benefits.”Mr. Scutari pointed to the poll as a reason legalization may gain traction in the legislature. “People should be afraid to vote against it,” he said.In the senate, a handful of Republicans could be swayed to support legalization, giving proponents a cushion if they are not able to attract enough Democrats.The lack of certainty around legalization despite news of agreement among political leaders is somewhat unusual in New Jersey. Typically, the governor and legislative leaders negotiate behind closed doors and announce an agreement on a bill when passage is essentially guaranteed, as was the case with the minimum wage raise.But with marijuana legalization, reports in the media surfaced about an agreement without a final bill or guaranteed support, reflecting the interest in the issue. New Jersey is seeking to become the 11th state to legalize marijuana and only the second to do it through legislation instead of through a ballot measure.The agreement calls for taxing marijuana by weight, at $42 an ounce, rather than by a set percentage. Stephen M. Sweeney, the senate president, had supported a 12 percent tax, while Mr. Murphy wanted a tax closer to 25 percent.The issue of how to tax the drug had been the biggest hurdle separating Mr. Murphy and the legislature.“Weight by volume is probably the way to the future in terms of how cannabis is going to be taxed,” said Mr. Scutari.The governor and legislative leaders also reached an agreement on the set up for a five-member cannabis regulatory commission: Mr. Murphy would get three appointments, while the legislature would make two appointments. The commission would be in charge of approving licenses for dispensaries, among other policies.Legislative leaders said they still need to reach agreement on other aspects of legalizing marijuana, including the initial number of licenses to be distributed and how many public consumption sites would be allowed.“We have not ironed out the finer points of the bill, we haven’t formalized it into language yet, so I wouldn’t say that we have a complete agreement just yet,” Mr. Scutari said. “Some of the major sticking points between the legislature and the governor have been agreed to.”Though Mr. Murphy had hoped to pass a bill legalizing recreational marijuana last year, negotiations quickly became bogged down by political squabbles in Trenton.Mr. Scutari said he did not anticipate many other major changes to the bill he sponsored last year that set the backbone for legal marijuana, including delivery, public lounges for consumers and prohibiting the growing of cannabis in homes. He still wants to add a provision allowing the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling recreational marijuana on the same day that Mr. Murphy signs a bill into law.“This will jump start and immediately start to get people out of the black market,” Mr. Scutari said. “If people can go to a legalized facility and buy it on Day 1, we’re going to encourage that to happen.”Source: New York Times (NY) Author:  Nick CorasanitiPublished: February 19, 2019Copyright: 2019 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on March 03, 2019 at 08:49:56 PT
re comment #3
I see this guy’s problems right off. (I have addressed in earlier comments.) He is a cannabis relegalization pioneer and vocal activist. The prohibitions targeted him with prosecution, jail time, and a felony conviction. The local politicians and businesses don’t want to work with him because now he is “tainted” by his legal issues, and outspokenness, and could there possible be a racist angle too. Here is the playbook. Create laws designed to ensnare certain groups of people. Deny them an education and employment. Exploit them mercilessly, and then criticize them for being poor.I am reminded of a line in one of Fagan’s song in the Musical “Oliver”. In this life, one thing counts, in the bank, large amounts.If this guy had some financial backing he could be a big success. The established respects money above everything else.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on February 28, 2019 at 13:05:44 PT
Afterburner Comment 2
That's horrible! They maybe need a bill to do something about the rampant busybodies among them! It's horrifying. They are little monster twits all grown up and wanting to stick their fingers in everyone's eyes that they can. They should at least all have to wear signs that they are a recognized busybody and they hate the right of everyone else to live in freedom or have any liberty to make their own choices. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on February 28, 2019 at 11:21:07 PT
Afterburner Comment 3
Dang! It looks like the Moses thing is happening to the Weedman! He led the "Children of peace" through the desert of this ungodly prohibition for so many years, and now doesn't get to go in and enjoy and reap any profit from the promised land! He deserves better.I know he did all he did for the sake of liberty and freedom, but if anyone deserves a place in the new world of legal and legitimate cannabis businesses it's Ed Forchion!Ed could use a few miracles. He's been vocal, risking everything, and so hard working. I remember getting a letter published once about how I thought cannabis was supposed to make you lazy, but it sure didn't look to me like it had made Ed "Weedman" Forchion any kind of lazy. And it didn't. He's born the brunt of a lot of persecution like a champion. He is a champion of our cause. He needs to be able to show what a true champion of a human being can accomplish in the world of legal cannabis. 
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Comment #3 posted by afterburner on February 27, 2019 at 05:55:07 PT
Ed Forchion, NJ Weedman, Cannabis Activist
  New Jersey Marijuana. 
He pushed for marijuana legalization for nearly 20 years. Now the Weedman feels sidelined.
Updated Feb 17; Posted Feb 17 justice vs. corporate takeover: the battle for legalization continues in New Jersey. Comments are mixed: some support NJ Weedman's civil disobedience against an unjust law, others criticise him as an impatient criminal.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on February 26, 2019 at 09:58:06 PT
Even Colorado Struggling with Fair Cannabis Access
This Anti-Vaping Bill (House Bill 1076) Bans Everything But Edibles Indoors and Outdoors.
Madison Margolin.
Feb 25, 2019
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on February 24, 2019 at 08:44:14 PT
good start New Jersey
Good for New Jersey. I would caution that if the taxes are too high there will still be a gray market that has better prices. The prices have to be reasonable for this all to work. $42 an oz tax may be too high.
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