New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and several legislators announced a bill that would legalize the use of recreational cannabis in the Garden State. They also announced an outline of proposed taxes, as well as an expedited expungement process for previous low-level cannabis-related convictions.
Murphy said in a press release that legalizing recreational cannabis is a monumental step towards reducing disparities in their criminal justice system. The Democratic governor added that the broad outlines of adult-use cannabis legislation are a product of months of hard work and thoughtful negotiations.
Provisions of the bill
If the bill is passed and is signed into law, a Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be formed to oversee the state’s recreational cannabis market. The commission will be composed of five members to be appointed by the governor. The commission will be responsible for implementing regulations that will govern the industry and it will be in charge of granting cannabis licenses to applicants.
According to the bill, cannabis cultivation would be subject to a $42-per ounce excise tax. Municipalities that are home to a cannabis manufacturer are allowed to collect revenues from a 2 percent tax on cannabis products within their jurisdiction. Meanwhile, cities and townships that are home to a retailer are entitled to receive revenue from a 3 percent tax on pot products sold.
Additionally, the bill provides for the establishment of an “expedited expungement process” for individuals that had been convicted of low-level cannabis offenses. It would also set up a virtual process that automatically prevents certain cannabis-related offenses from being considered in certain areas, such as housing, education, and occupational licensing.
What’s more, the legislation includes several provisions that are designed to guarantee diverse participation in the fast-growing cannabis industry for minorities and women-owned enterprises.
Cannabis shares rallied after the announcement
Shares of major cannabis companies in the world, including several Canadian cannabis growers, rallied Tuesday following Murphy’s announcement.
Cronos Group gained 4.5 percent, Canopy Growth rallied 3.7 percent, Aurora rose 2.6 percent, and Tilray gained 3.4 percent.