Cannabis Legalization

Governor Murphy has identified the legalization of the adult recreational use of marijuana as a top priority for his Administration. Senate President Sweeney also supports this and has publicly indicated that there is sufficient support in the Senate to advance enabling legislation and Speaker Coughlin recently stated that he supports legalization.

While the League does not have a position on the topic of legalized recreational marijuana, we provide this information as a tool for our members at a time when it is virtually certain that legalization will be realized in the near future. 

The League has formed a Task Force to explore and research the impacts of the legalization of adult recreational use on municipalities. 

In addition, NJLM has formed a coalition with the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. While the coalition does not take a position on legalization, we are working together to ensure that municipal interests are protected;

Opting Out

Significant issues remain, including an “opt-out” provision for municipalities, meaning marijuana would be legalized in all municipalities unless a municipality takes affirmative action to opt-out. 

While some municipalities are preemptively banning cannabis, those ordinances could be rendered invalid by any state laws passed.

Taxes

In terms of local taxation, including a potential local option tax of up to 2% to be retained by the host municipality is still under negotiation.

Commission

The creation of a five-member commission to oversee marijuana regulations, permitting and an enforcement division. The Governor would appoint three members and the Legislature would appoint the remaining two.

Expungement

Automatic eligibility for those convicted of marijuana possession for criminal record expungement; individuals would still need to go through a process for expungement. 

Municipal Land Use

Municipalities still retain control of zoning and land use issues. However, if municipalities fail to opt out, it may create limitations on their land use authority.