Recreational Cannabis Legalized by New Jersey Voters

Recreational Cannabis Legalized by New Jersey Voters

Congrats New Jersey! Yesterday, voters approved legalizing recreational cannabis.

With this decision, New Jersey now joins the District of Columbia and 11 states legalizing recreational cannabis. Though people could legally buy and use cannabis under the constitutional amendment voters approved by a wide margin, it’s unclear how long it will take until consumers will be able to buy their first legal product. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the Democrats supported legalization and are expected to move quickly to pass legislation establishing the marketplace.

Nearly 3.8 million voters had returned ballots to county officials before the polls closed, state election authorities have said. That’s 95% of the 2016s turnout.

The question New Jersey voters approved called for a 6.625 percent state tax on cannabis sales to customers 21 or older and permitted municipalities to charge an extra 2 percent tax. But most other implementation details must now be worked out by the Legislature and a Cannabis Regulatory Commission with five members — only one of whom has been appointed.

The potential for extra tax revenue and new jobs may serve as a powerful motivator to move quickly in New Jersey, which is struggling to plug budget gaps left by a pandemic now stretching into its ninth month. The measure is expected to generate about $126 million a year once the market is established.

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