We cannot tell you if or when the legislation to legalize recreational, adult use of marijuana may be scheduled again. On March 25, the State Legislature did not act on A4497/S2703, which would legalize adult use of recreational cannabis. The measure did not have the needed 21 votes to pass in the State Senate. There are continued lobbying efforts to get to a majority in the State Senate, but the outcome remains uncertain. We can tell you that this legislation must originate in the Assembly (i.e., the Assembly must vote on it first) and that New Jersey General Assembly is next scheduled to convene a voting session on May 23. The State Senate is scheduled to reconvene for a voting session on May 30.
What we can also tell you is our analysis and commentary on the legislation as it currently stands. Through this long process, the League, while not taking a position on the issue of legalization itself, has championed measures to facilitate municipal implementation of legalization, if it were to become a reality. The League pointed out the inadequacy of the initial local tax structure, advocated for strong home rule and planning protections in the Legislation, and worked closely with the New Jersey Urban Mayors Association and Conference of Mayors to assure that the bill adequately addressed expungement and restorative justice.
This delay does offer local officials a fresh chance to review the current proposal to assess what their local course of action will be if legalization becomes a reality.
Thus, we call your attention to our blog postings, which break down areas of the legislation of particular interest to municipalities.
For a breakdown of the local option tax for the variously proposed licenses, please see the League’s March 20 post, Breaking Down the Cannabis Legislations—Local Cannabis Tax.
For information on local zoning controls and regulatory controls, please see the League’s post, Breaking Down the Cannabis Legislation, Part 2—Local Regulation.
And for information on the expungements provision in the legislation, please see, Breaking Down the Cannabis Legislation, Part 3—Expungement.
Contact: Michael F. Cerra, Assistant Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x120.