Update: New Jersey nears legalization
New Jersey is getting closer to legalizing cannabis for adult use. The governor’s office just announced the terms of a long-awaited deal with legislative leaders, which could make it to the legislature for a vote by the end of the month. The terms include:
Adult-use cannabis will be subject to a flat tax of $42/ounce, which will be imposed when it’s cultivated. The current price of an ounce in New Jersey is around $344 (according to priceofweed.com), so we’re looking at a 12% tax right now but there’s no reason to believe the price will remain steady over time (for example, in Oregon, where cannabis has been legal since 2015, the price is $210/oz.). In addition to this state-wide tax, cannabusinesses will also be subject to local taxes. Municipalities can impose a 3% tax on retailers, 2% on cultivators and manufacturers, and 1% on wholesalers. The revenue from these taxes will be paid to municipalities based on the amount of product sold in their jurisdiction.
Cannabis Regulatory Commission
Adult-use marijuana will be governed by a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, with three members appointed by the Governor and and two appointed by leaders of the Assembly and Senate. The Commission will regulate the industry and will oversee the application process for licensing adult-use dispensaries. In this regard, New Jersey follows the model set by several other states, including Massachusetts, whose five-member Cannabis Control Commission oversees the state’s medical and adult use programs.
Social Justice and Criminal Expungement
The legislation will also attempt to repair the damage done to folks convicted of low-level marijuana offenses before the industry became legal. Lawmakers contemplate an expedited expungement process for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses, and a virtual expungement process preventing certain offenses from being considered in areas like education, housing, and occupational licensing.
The governor’s statement also indicated that efforts would be made to promote diversity in the industry:
“Additionally, there are a number of provisions that aim to ensure broad-based participation in the industry for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), low- and middle-income individuals, and disadvantaged communities across the state.”
Hopefully this translates into a broad-based class of owners and operators — not just workers.
I’d love to connect! If you are an entrepreneur, funder, or enthusiast working in this field or looking to break in, please email me (Jennifer Cabrera) at firstname.lastname@example.org.