With the 3rd highest average per capita income in the country, a population of 9 million people, and most importantly an extremely close proximity to New York City, the state of New Jersey is an interesting one to watch with regards to cannabis legalization.
The reason New Jersey’s proximity to New York is even more important in the short term is New York’s current cannabis laws which only allow for medical.
It’s not far-fetched to assume many people would make the short trip over the bridge into New Jersey to pick up some goods.
Debates, Debates & More Debates
The legislative committees are also expected to act on legislation (S10) that would expand the medicinal marijuana program, according to the most recent legislative calendar.
The number of patients registered with the medicinal marijuana program has doubled since last year bringing the total to 35,700.
The debates over the bill have slowed down recently between state Senate President Sweeney and Murphy, who have disagreed over the tax rate and whether a new commission should exercise control over the new industry.
A bill sponsored by Sweeney and Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, would have imposed a 10 percent tax on marijuana that would have increased to 25 percent over four years. The lower initial rate was intended to stamp out illegal sales by allowing legal businesses to operate profitably. The bill has been shelved in favour of new legislation that has yet to be made public.
According to NorthJersey.com, Scottt Rudder, who heads the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, a trade group of aspiring marijuana growers, cultivators, retailers and related businesses, said the major holdup is whether to impose a 25 percent tax on retail marijuana sales right away, or start with a lower tax rate that escalates to that level over several years.
Sweeney said he favours imposing a 12 percent tax rate, plus 2 percent for municipalities that are willing to host cannabis-related businesses. He doesn’t want to go higher because he fears that it will allow the illegal market to thrive.
Michigan just passed a 10 percent tax rate, Sweeney noted. Michigan’s marijuana tax rate is comprised of a 10 percent excise tax and a six percent sales tax, according to published reports.