2019 the year for legal marijuana in NJ? Supporters expect it

David Madden
December 31, 2018 - 4:00 am
Supporters of marijuana legalization in New Jersey had hoped 2018 would be the year it would happen.

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TRENTON, N.J.  (KYW Newsradio) — Supporters of marijuana legalization in New Jersey had hoped 2018 would be the year it would happen. It didn’t. 

But they’re confident 2019 will be different. 
    
Legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy have been at odds over a couple things, most notably how high to tax recreational marijuana. Murphy wants a 25 percent levy, but state Senate President Steve Sweeney will go no higher than 12 percent.

There’s also the question of how best to regulate a new and, pardon the pun, growing industry. 

READ: 6 new businesses added to medical marijuana field in NJ 

And then there’s some 50 towns statewide that have, in one way or another, banned its sale outright. That represents about 10 percent of the municipalities in the state. 
    
Scott Rudder, President of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, understands the lingering reluctance on the legalization front.

“There’s a lot of people who still carry on. Their only scientific experience with cannabis was watching a Cheech and Chong movie,” Rudder told KYW Newsradio. “So we have to break through out of the stigmas and stereotypes and just look at the science.”
    
But let’s talk bottom line here. 

Many of Murphy’s new and expanded programs need money, and he’s counting on legal marijuana to go a long way to provide it. So once the tax and regulation questions are addressed, look for this to get on the fast track in the legislature.

“We’re 98 percent done and we’ve been 98 percent done for quite some time now,” Rudder added. “So it’s really coming down to the finish line and to get those last two sticking points worked out and we should have this wrapped up in January.”