NJ Politics Digest: Democratic Leaders Reach Deal on Legal Weed

New Jersey is edging ever-closer to legalizing recreational marijuana.
New Jersey is edging ever-closer to legalizing recreational marijuana. Unsplash/Wesley Gibbs

The details are still being worked out, but reports are that Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders have finally reached an agreement on legalizing the use of recreational marijuana in the state, according to reports.

Politico reports that the terms of the agreement call for a $42 per ounce tax on the sale of recreational cannabis. Just how the state would tax marijuana sales had been a big bone of contention, with Murphy seeking a high tax rate and Senate President Steve Sweeney and others warning that too high a tax would result in continuing black market sales. Politico quotes sources as saying the agreement to tax marijuana sales by weight “is expected to mitigate any impact a larger cannabis supply might have on the price of pot.”

Under the agreement, Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have agreed not to stand in the way of Murphy’s appointees to the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

Now that the top Democrats have a plan for bringing legal recreation to the state, the next step will be to ensure there are enough votes to pass the proposal.

Some Democratic legislators, including Sen. Ron Rice, who is chair of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus, have supported decriminalization of marijuana but have come out against full legalization of recreational use.

Quote of the Day: “I went into the lion’s den to have a discussion. We didn’t waiver, and people weren’t happy. But we did have an honest dialogue.” — Sen. President Steve Sweeney, on holding a public hearing on his plan to address the state’s pension crisis by cutting back on public worker benefits.

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