New Jersey lawmakers are slated to make a decision as to whether or not New Jersey should become the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. While the outcome of the vote still remains unclear, it is scheduled to take place on Monday.
According to The Morning Call, part of the reason why residents of New Jersey aren’t sure which way the vote will go is that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has campaigned for legalization, but his predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, was against it.
If lawmakers decide to legalize recreational weed in the state of New Jersey, it would join the District of Columbia, along with 10 other states, that have already legalized cannabis for recreational use.
While the New Jersey government is Democratic-led, marijuana legalization is an issue that divides legislators in the same party. Some members of the Democratic party support the vote, while others have admitted they are not fully committed to saying “yes” just yet.
What Happens If The Bill Passes?
If the New Jersey government makes the decision to pass the bill, it would allow residents over the age of 21 to purchase and consume up to an ounce of marijuana. The bill would result in cannabis being taxed at $42 an ounce.
The legislation would also require a regulatory commission consisting of five people to be established, in order to oversee the rules and regulations surrounding legalization within the state. The current governor would be responsible for naming between three to five people to serve for five years on this committee.
According to NJ dot com’s online whip count, 23 out of New Jersey’s 40 senators are now on record opposing the marijuana legalization bill ahead of Monday’s vote.
— Tom Angell ???????? (@tomangell) March 22, 2019
Under this bill, pending and past marijuana-related crimes involving possession of a maximum of five pounds would be excused and expunged from criminal records.
In an effort to make legalization of marijuana a fair market, the bill also requires 30 percent of sales licenses to go to women and minorities.
The bill will also require the aforementioned regulatory commission to conduct research into driving under the influence of cannabis and develop a plan of action on the issue.
How Soon Would People Be Allowed To Start Consuming Marijuana?
If the bill passes, residents of New Jersey would be able to start consuming and possessing up to an ounce of marijuana immediately. However, it will take the state a little bit of time to set up a legal sales marketplace. According to The Morning Call, it may take as long as six months for a marketplace consisting of retail locations — with guidelines in place — to be established.
— Brent Johnson (@johnsb01) March 24, 2019
The way the state of New Jersey has decided to tax marijuana does differ from other states, as most tax a percentage instead of a flat amount. The only exception to this is Alaska, which has a tax set at $50 per ounce.