New Jersey lawmakers have approved putting adult-use cannabis before state voters on the 2020 ballot. The measure passed with a supermajority of the State Senate and Assembly.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
In recent polls, 60% of New Jersey’s voters indicated they favored legalizing cannabis for recreational use. If approved by the voters, New Jersey would become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize recreational marijuana.
If voters approve the referendum question, anyone over 21 would be able to use cannabis in New Jersey. A regulatory commission would oversee sales. Purchases would be subject to the state’s sales tax, and host towns would be able to set their own levies of up to 2%.
ABC News reports how the referendum was not the first choice path:
The ballot question was the second choice of Murphy and legislative leaders, who failed in March to advance legislation that would have legalized cannabis. Legislators at the time cited a number of concerns with the bill, including worries that some who were convicted of dealing marijuana could too easily get their records cleared. The opposition at the time was on both sides of the political aisle.
Supporters of the question accepted it after it became clear that legislation didn’t have enough support. Some worried that the ballot question defers lawmakers’ responsibility to address racial and social justice concerns since black residents get arrested on marijuana charges at a disproportionate rate compared with whites.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the leaders of the Maryland General Assembly’s Marijuana Legalization Workgroup have indicated that they will not be endorsing legislation legalizing recreational use of marijuana for the upcoming 2020 session. Rather, the group will continue to study and work through the remaining legalization issues for a possible path forward in Maryland.
For more information:
N.J. voters to decide on legalizing marijuana (Philadelphia Inquirer)
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