By Dalton Rosario
This past Monday, November 26, 2018, New Jersey's joint hearing committee with the state Senate and Assembly passed Bill S2703; which advocates for the legalization of recreational cannabis for adult use and the expansion of their state sponsored medicinal cannabis program. This marked a momentous decision to send Bill S2703 to full Legislature on December 17, 2018. Although representing a firm step toward legalization, there is still contention between Governor Phil Murphy and State Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) regarding agreement upon the statewide cannabis tax rate.
Governor Murphy is looking for a 25% cannabis sales tax, which is comparatively high relative to State Senate President Sweeney's proposal of a 12% tax rate plus an added 2% for "municipalities willing to host cannabis businesses." This stark contrast is emphasized by Sweeney's line of reasoning that high cannabis sales taxes would continue to entice illegal channels of distribution, undermining legislative efforts for legalization.