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Reader says , “our politicians, will find a way to spend more than they take in”

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” Sorry to write it but legalized hooch will bring in significant revenue. NJ is the most densely populated state in the union. That fact alone will create a booming business. However, the issue is no matter how much revenue generators are blessed by our politicians, they will find a way to spend more than they take in…and that is the moral hazard we face as voters. “

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Reader says , “Weed is about the Bucks “

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” I think we’re way beyond weed and all its uses, benefits, and pitfalls when it comes to the state of NJ. It’s about the bucks. Much like the buzz about gambling in AC being the magic bullet to solve New Jersey’s financial woes, weed is looked at as a new cash crop to fill our tax coffers with green. We have a 40+ year view on legalized gambling and see only bankrupt casinos, lives ruined, and power-broker pockets lined. The state lottery, online gambling, sin tax on tobacco, etc…all failures in helping people. Only more money for politicos to piss away. Only with weed, we have more stoners and fewer earners. Is it any wonder why our taxes are so high? Maybe we should legalize prostitution so we can tax sex workers while we’re at it. Murphy (or any GOP gov) and company should be focused on how to help people succeed rather than keep the citizens dumbed down and wasted. Decriminalize individual use of cannabis and penalize illegal distribution, much like alcohol laws. “

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Ranking Republican on Senate Judiciary Committee says Pot deal is a “shameful abdication of our duty to protect public health and safety”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39) released the following statement in response to news that Governor Phil Murphy and Legislative leaders have reached a deal on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Senator Cardinale has been one of the Legislature’s most vocal opponents of the bill. In November, he testified before the Budget Committee in opposition to the legislation. He also released an expansive data book containing peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate the dangers of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

Continue reading Ranking Republican on Senate Judiciary Committee says Pot deal is a “shameful abdication of our duty to protect public health and safety”
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New Jersey Moves to Legalize Marijuana

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, New Jersey CannaBusiness Association (NJCBA) President Scott Rudder issued the following statement today regarding Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, Senator Scutari and Assemblywoman Quijano announcing an agreement on legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Jersey:

“I want to thank Governor Murphy, Senate President Sweeney, Speaker Coughlin, Senator Scutari, and Assemblywoman Quijano for coming together and doing the right thing for New Jersey. The time for legalization has come. The old ‘reefer madness’ myths have been dispelled. We know legalizing recreational adult-use cannabis and expanding medical cannabis in New Jersey will address issues of social justice, help the state’s economy, and create a new, thriving workforce.

Continue reading New Jersey Moves to Legalize Marijuana
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Understand the Pros and Cons of the Legalization of Marijuana in New Jersey.

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, according to Assemblywomen Holly Schepisi , “This year I worked with Senator Ron Rice and the students at Ramsey High school to understand the pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. One thing that the students’ research pointed to is how uneducated most people are on the issues related to legalization and how different demographics are being lobbied in different ways. In Urban communities it has been marketed as “social justice” and in suburban communities it has been marketed as reducing your property taxes. Neither argument is accurate.

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Support for Legal Weed Stays High

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Public sees tax revenue boon; backs expungement

West Long Branch NJ , The Monmouth University Poll finds more than 6-in-10 New Jersey residents support legalizing marijuana and half say a current proposal to make that happen in the Garden State is a good idea.  The number of people who say that legalization will help the state’s economy and lead to a decrease in other drug crimes has ticked up over the past year. Three-quarters of the public also support the opportunity for those with past possession convictions to expunge their records.

Most New Jersey adults (62%) currently support legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use while 32% oppose this.  These numbers are in line with the 59% – 37% split recorded in a Monmouth poll last year. However, statewide support for legalization is higher than five years ago when it stood at 48% in favor and 47% opposed.  Marijuana legalization receives support from most Democrats (72%) and independents (61%), but less than half of Republicans (47%).  By age, support stands at 81% among those 18 to 34 years old and at just over half among those age 35 to 54 (56%) and age 55 or older (53%).

Continue reading Support for Legal Weed Stays High
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Proposal to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana Advances

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

TRENTON NJ, A proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older advanced in the New Jersey Legislature Monday. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S2703, sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari, (7-2-4), and the Assembly Appropriations Committee approved A4497, sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, (6-1-2). The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote. Gov. Phil Murphy has expressed strong support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.
The amended version of the legislation:

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How High Are Recreational Marijuana Taxes in Your State?

April 26, 2018
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

According to Katherine Loughead and Morgan Scarboro of the Tax Foundation public opinion increasingly favors the legalization of recreational marijuana, a growing number of states must determine how to tax legal sales of cannabis.

Will New Jersey Be next? One of the biggest signals of change has been the election of Democrat Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, and the incumbent Governor of New Jersey. He’s has already instilled a belief that New Jersey will embrace the plant recreationally.

To date, nine states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana, but only eight of these jurisdictions have legal markets. The table below highlights the states that have implemented legal markets and levy taxes on recreational marijuana.

Of the states with legal markets, Alaska is the only state that does not impose some form of sales tax on end-users. In each of the other states, taxes levied on the sale of marijuana far exceed the general sales tax rate levied by that state:

In Alaska, which has no states sales tax, marijuana growers pay a tax of $50 per ounce when selling the product to marijuana dispensaries or retailers. While the cost of taxes paid is passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, end-users do not pay a sales tax when purchasing marijuana.

In California, cultivators pay a per ounce of product tax at a rate of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. In addition, retailers collect from customers a 15 percent excise tax on the average market price of the product.

Colorado imposes a 15 percent excise tax on the sale of marijuana from a cultivator to a retailer. In addition, the state levies a 15 percent sales tax (up from 10 percent in 2017) on retail sales to customers.

Maine legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 by ballot initiative but has not yet established a legal market. Pending legislation would tax sales of marijuana at a rate of 10 percent and levy an excise tax on cultivators at a rate of $335 per pound of flower, $94 per pound of marijuana trim, $1.50 per immature plant or seedling, and $0.30 per seed. Governor LePage, however, has vowed to veto the legislation.

Massachusetts, concerned its previous ballot initiative approved rate of 3.75 percent was too low, raised the excise tax rate to 10.75 percent in 2017.

Nevada imposes an excise tax on the sale of marijuana by a cultivator to a distributor. This rate is set at 15 percent of the Fair Market Value as determined by the Nevada Department of Taxation. In 2017, Nevada created a new 10 percent sales tax paid by consumers.

Oregon, which does not have a general sales tax, levies a 17 percent sales tax on marijuana.
Washington levies a 37 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Vermont legalized the possession of marijuana this year but did not create a legal market. D.C. also allows for possessing and growing of marijuana but does not allow for sales in a legal market.

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Legalization of Recreational Cannabis Use could result in a windfall to the State exceeding $1 billion

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NJ Deficits Could Go Up in Smoke 

December 26,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

ROSELAND NJ,  Upon the release of its White Paper exploring what it calls “The most complex environment ever to legalize recreational cannabis use,” lawyers at Brach Eichler observed that the initial organization of the industry could result in a windfall to the State exceeding $1 billion — before a single ounce is delivered.
The figure is based on the State creating an aggressive privatization of the industry in which large technology, testing, cultivation, transportation and other industry participants compete for roles and pay upfront licensing, franchising, and other fees.

“The State needs $3 billion to close its budget gap and it so far has identified cannabis as contributing $300 million from sales tax,” says John D. Fanburg, Managing Member and Chair of the Health Law Practice at Brach Eichler. “Presumptively, if there is a $2 billion recreational cannabis market in New Jersey, privatized functions could be offered in RFPs that provide lengthy contracts – the type that attract investors who pay-up for predictable returns. A billion dollars is probably a modest estimate of the opportunity New Jersey can potentially realize as it legalizes recreational cannabis.”

The White Paper, The Business, Regulatory and Legal Challenges — and Opportunity — of Legalized Cannabis in New Jersey, which explores the differences between New Jersey’s presumed recreational cannabis legalization versus circumstances in states with existing programs, warns that “New Jersey holds complexities not faced by other states unrelated to the production, distribution, sale, and use of marijuana, but attributed to a simple fact of life: this is New Jersey, and almost everything is harder here.”
“Home rule is the principal culprit,” says Charles X. Gormally, Member and Chair of the Litigation Practice for Brach Eichler. “It’s the third rail of New Jersey politics, so great care will be taken to protect the will of municipalities in drafting the Cannabis Statute.

“Part of the social justice initiative will be to provide economic opportunities in urban communities, which will be very appealing to some municipalities. However, it’s inevitable that there will be great tension between local officials and regulators about who gets what part of the pie – and why.”

The White Paper observes solutions developed in other states around not only Industry Structure, but a variety of oversight, taxation, and participation issues, including sections on Home Rule, Property Taxes, Delivery, Banking, Commerce, Public Health, Testing Product Safety, Regulatory Authority, Criminality, and Cannabis as Tourism. While the Administration has not indicated any specific direction on any of the issues broached in the White Paper, Mr. Gormally says it will be “unavoidable” that fiscal issues dominate the dialogue.

“The ultimate social justice would be to immediately decriminalize possession, but that does not provide the long-term political leverage that will lead to a healthy industry and a leveraging of the state’s interests. You have a lot of smart people in the incoming Administration who have already seen that current legislative proposals will not generate the $300 million they already have allocated to programs they are committed to enact immediately.

“At the edges of this industry you have a black-market cohort that wants to legitimize its crop and reduce the risks of its current distribution program; and another cohort with access to a massive pool of capital if margins are protected,” says Mr. Fanburg. “In the middle is a new administration desperate to lead the State back to economic relevance and a legislature determined to protect programs that are threatened by fiscal realities. So, while it is unlikely that the state goes all the way and monetizes every component of the industry, as they start to tinker with a new Statute, the opportunity to generate upfront cash will prove at least partially irresistible.”

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Marijuana could take New Jersey to New Highs

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November 10,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Following Democrat Phil Murphy’s victory in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday, marijuana legalization in the state could very quickly become a reality. The incoming governor, made cannabis legalization a key part of his campaign platform. Murphy has promised to legalize pot for Garden State stoners aged 21 and older within his first 100 days in office, with an eye on raking in an estimated $300 million a year in taxes.

Murphy’s “Pot” proposal would legalize the recreational use of marijuana across the state. Democrats now have full control of the state’s legislature, and are making the issue a key part of their agenda going into 2018. New Jersey Senate President Steven Sweeney  told the Washington Examiner this week that he is confident that a marijuana legalization bill will be signed into law before April.

If New Jersey legalize the recreational use of marijuana it would become the ninth state in the country to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and the first to do so through legislation instead of a ballot initiative.

Even though a New Jersey marijuana legalization bill could be signed into law in the first few months of 2018, it would still take a while to go into effect. Legal experts claim it could take up to 18 months after the bill passes before adults 21 and older could start consuming cannabis legally.