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Law New Jersey

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Good. Let the people vote. The politicians are too busy covering their ass.


New Jersey marijuana legalization bill dead; lawmakers will let voters decide



TRENTON — For the second time this year, top Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey pulled the plug on legislation to legalize cannabis sales for recreational use, killing any likelihood Gov. Phil Murphy will deliver on a key campaign promise before 2021.


Instead, legislative leaders introduced a resolution Monday that would put a recreational use question on the November 2020 ballot. The resolution would need to pass both houses of the state Legislature by three-fifths majorities in one year or by simple majorities in consecutive years to make it onto the ballot.


“We made further attempts to generate additional support in the Senate to get this done legislatively, but we recognize that the votes just aren’t there. We respect the positions taken by legislators on what is an issue of conscience," Senate President Steve Sweeney said in a joint statement with Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), who had been the lead sponsor of the cannabis legalization bill, NJ S2703 (18R), in the upper house.


While senior lawmakers had telegraphed the possibility that they’d move forward with cannabis legalization through a referendum, Monday’s announcement came less than three hours after Scutari held a press conference with Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Union) and pro-cannabis groups to demand action on the recreational use bill.


The Statehouse press conference, which included almost a dozen faith, activist, business and labor organizations, was intended to inject new vigor into lobbying efforts for recreational use — which Sweeney said lawmakers would consider in the lame duck session.


“The time is now for action,” Scutari said, citing 2017 arrest data showing stark racial disparities in marijuana arrests. “We’re close. We’re closer than we’ve ever been before. Action is needed now. I can tell you that we are discussing this at the highest levels of the Statehouse.”


However close they may have been, it wasn’t close enough. Shortly after Scutari‘s press conference ended, the Senate Majority Office released his joint statement with Sweeney, saying the time for immediate action had drawn to a close.


Scutari said in an interview he thought he and Sweeney had between 18 and 20 "yes" votes in the Senate in support of his legislation at the time the bill was pulled. They would need 21 “yes“ votes for passage. The window for passage narrowed significantly on Friday when Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said he wouldn’t back a recreational use bill during the current legislative session.


Even without the Monmouth County Republican, lawmakers, activists and administration officials still believed there was time to whip the necessary votes in the upper house, sources told POLITICO. The deadline for submitting a resolution for a ballot initiative doesn’t fall until December, according to one administration official, a period Murphy and Sweeney could have used to drive support among reluctant Democrats.


Those efforts likely would have been unsuccessful, Scutari said.


“We couldn’t wait any longer. We tried to get as many votes as we could, with everything going on with lame duck, I’m not sure we could get people nailed down,” Scutari told POLITICO. “This is the safest way to go.”


Separately, a second administration official said that as soon as it became clear voters could have an opportunity to decide the issue, the prospects of convincing lawmakers to pass a recreational use bill became much more difficult.


“It is a very personal issue and they think about it in different ways. Once you start talking about a referendum in a real way, it’s hard to get folks on that razor’s edge to go the other way [and vote ‘yes’],” the official said.


Murphy, who campaigned heavily on a pro-cannabis platform in 2017, was disappointed by the announcement, but said in a statement he has “faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November.“


“By approving this ballot measure before the end of this legislative session, New Jersey will move one step closer to righting a historical wrong and achieving what I have spent more than three years advocating for,” the governor said.


Several polls released over the last two years suggest a solid majority of New Jersey residents support marijuana legalization. Even so, NJ RAMP —an affiliate of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana — has already said it plans to fight the measure at the ballot box.


Should voters approve the referendum, it would be up to the Legislature to take action to grant oversight of the adult use industry to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which was previously established through medical marijuana legislation passed earlier this year.


“We fell some votes short in the Senate [but] the campaign still continues,” said Holley, who’d been a primary sponsor of the recreational use bill in the Assembly. “I’ll continue to advocate and raise the issues I’ve raised since day one about the harms this has done to minority communities.”


Monday’s announcement marks the conclusion of a long odyssey for the Democrat’s recreational use bill, which was originally scheduled for a vote in March after months of protracted negotiations between Murphy, Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.


That vote was scuttled after Sweeney and Murphy failed to whip up the necessary 21 votes in the upper house. A majority of Assembly members supported the bill.


Two months later, amid an escalating feud between Murphy and South Jersey Democratic power broker George Norcross over tax incentives, Sweeney said there wasn’t a viable path forward for the bill’s passage, laying some blame on the administration’s efforts to unilaterally expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program.


Sweeney reversed course several months later, saying he’d like to give the legislation another shot with some technical revisions to accommodate regulatory changes established through the state’s new medical marijuana law, NJ A20 (18R), along with criminal justice reforms that have since been included in subsequent legislation.


Both bills had previously been linked to the fate of recreational use legislation.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
So, while a goodly portion of the resistance in the NJ legislature has come from black representatives....and religious leaders in those communities.....reflecting their fears of drugs from epidemics like crack and heroin.....the cold fact is while they dither around, their constituents and congregants are being arrested for MJ at record rates.

What part of this are they just not getting????

New Jersey marijuana arrests have increase 35% in four years

Arrests related to marijuana increased by around 35% over a four year period ending in 2017, the last year where data is available. This is according to a report released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

The report is based on FBI crime figures, which show that there was around 38,000 arrests for cannabis possession, distribution or both in 2017, up from about 28,000 in 2013, reports the AP. The publication also found that black peopel are three times as likely to get arrested on marijuana-related charges than white people.
The ACLU-NJ, which released the report, is advocating recreational marijuana legalization in New Jersey. The main driver of its push, according to executive director Amol Sinha, is the racial aspect of marijuana prohibition.


“The fact that communities of color are disproportionately harmed … has created a civil rights crisis,” Sinha said.

Advocates, including the ACLU, want the Legislature to take up legalization during the current lame duck session, states the AP. The alternative is a ballot question, which Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney has said he would put on the docket for next year.

Sinha said Friday that legislation is better than an election because lawmakers would still have to pass measures to specify recreational legalization even if a ballot question succeeds.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
N.J. medical marijuana prices could be cut under new plan. They’re now highest in nation.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration will help lower the cost of medical marijuana by requiring for-profit companies entering the market to show how they will cut prices before the the Health Department allows them to operate.

With premium dried weed costing as much as $500 an ounce and no insurance company willing to cover the expense, many of the state’s 60,000 registered patients struggle to pay for their medicine every month.

In an email sent Tuesday to New Jersey’s six nonprofit alternative treatment centers — the formal name for licensed growers and retailers in New Jersey — Assistant Health Commissioner Jeff Brown explained that if they apply to change their status to a for-profit venture, they’ll need to submit a plan explaining how they will cut costs and expedite the opening of new dispensaries.

“We want to see them accountable to what they pledge to do with these plans,” Brown told NJ Advance Media.

In July, Murphy signed a law that allowed medical marijuana providers to voluntarily switch from operating as a nonprofit to a for-profit. The nonprofit owners asked for the amendment because they have struggled to find investments and were forced to pay exorbitant interest rates on loans. Marijuana possession and distribution remains a federal crime, despite state law permitting it.

The six nonprofit operators must submit a “price-reduction plan,” a “mobilization plan” for every satellite location of the original six intends to open “quickly.” The principals in the new for-profit must also undergo a background check, according to the memo.

The department performed a cost analysis in its latest biennial report and found bud prices varied from $360 to $500 an ounce. There are seven retail dispensary locations operating across the state, serving a patient base that increases by about 2,000 a month.

On the black market, the average price of an ounce of marijuana is $298 for “medium quality” and $343 for “high quality,” according to priceofweed.com.
State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, also recently said he’s drafting a bill that would enable state-funded programs to pick up some of the tab.
Prices are depressing sales, according to the report. Patients on average are buying a half-ounce every month, far less than the 2-ounce limit allowed at the time, the report said.

“For a patient in New Jersey, buying an ounce of whole flower per month without a discount could cost as much as $6,000 per year,” according to the report.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration in December granted permits for six new grower and retailers to join the market, but none has opened shop yet, citing issues with acquiring local approvals and securing financial backing.

On Monday, Compassionate Care Foundation in Egg Harbor took the first step in the process of becoming a for-profit by announcing its managing partner, Acreage Holdings, a national company, intends to acquire the business.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
It would appear that these NJ politicians couldn't find their own ass....even if they used both hands.

Every day, a new plan...sigh.

With legal weed on hold, New Jersey leaders now discussing decriminalizing pot

Now that legal marijuana is on hold in New Jersey, state leaders are privately discussing a plan to decriminalize marijuana in the meantime and put an end to arrests for pot possession, NJ Advance Media has learned.


Three sources familiar with the issue said lawmakers are in talks about whether to move forward with a bill that would treat pot possession like a traffic violation in the Garden State — meaning you’d get a fine instead of jail time.


The sources spoke on the condition on anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.


A bill that includes provisions for decriminalization was approved by a state Assembly committee in May. But state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said at the time he was still skeptical about decriminalizing the drug without legalizing it, and the measure languished.


Talks about decriminalization, however, have been revived after Sweeney and other top lawmakers announced last week they were dropping their latest push for lawmakers to pass a bill that would legalize weed in the state and instead move forward with a plan to ask voters to decide in referendum next November.


Sources stressed Monday that discussions about decriminalization are tentative. One legislative source said Monday he had “no idea” if decriminalization would pass.


“This one’s really been a moving target,” the source said.


Many supporters of legal marijuana warn that thousands of people will continue to be jailed for months until voters cast their ballots.


Police in New Jersey arrest more people for marijuana possession than every state except Texas and New York, according to FBI arrest data. And black people are arrested at a rate three times higher than white people, although people of both races use marijuana at similar rates.


Gov. Phil Murphy made legalizing weed in New Jersey a major campaign promise and has long said he prefers lawmakers to pass a bill instead of leaving it up to voters.


Murphy, a Democrat, was initially wary of decriminalizing weed in the meantime, worrying it may boost the black market with no legal system in place.


But his stance began to shift in July, as he spoke of the high rates of arrest that disproportionately impact people of color.


“I’m not gonna say hell no to anything right now,” Murphy said in July. “We’ve got to do something I’m not a fan of it historically because we leave the business in the hands of the wrong people.”


Sweeney, the state Senate president, expressed similar concerns to Murphy, saying it wouldn’t deter the black market. But he told NJ Advance Media last month he has told other lawmakers he’s “willing to look at it.”


Sweeney did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.


For decriminalization to become legal, both the state Senate and Assembly would have to pass a bill and Murphy would have to sign it into law.


With lawmakers turning to a voter referendum on legalizing pot, Murphy said last week he would refocus his attention on expunging the records of people arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey. But he did not provide details.


So far, attempts to pass expungement reform have stalled. In September, the state Senate did not vote on the governor’s changes to its expungement legislation and instead introduced a new bill.


Sweeney said the bill would move straight to the floor the next time the state Senate convenes. In keeping with Murphy’s recommendations, it would establish “clean slate” expungement, rendering certain convictions inaccessible after a 10-year period. It also would overhaul the application process to make all expungements more accessible.


Earlier on Monday afternoon, a group of about 50 people led by Ed Forchion, also known as NJ Weedman, appeared at the Statehouse in Trenton, chanting for legalization and the ability to grow weed at home. They held signs that called for “Expungements for all, home grow for all.”


Forchion said he did not like the legalization bill, as it would overlook the existing illegal industry, in which he operates, in favor of big corporations. And the expungement bill, he said, did not go far enough in its scope to clear convictions for larger amounts of marijuana possession or dealing.


“Why not legalize us? Why not legalize the existing market?" he said. “Even if you call it decrim, I don’t care.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
And around and around we go.


NJ Lawmakers Considering Referendum To Legalize Cannabis

New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday scheduled hearings on a proposal to let voters decide in 2020 whether to legalize recreational marijuana.
Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committees set hearings on the proposed referendum.

Lawmakers failed in March to advance legislation legalizing recreational cannabis, despite support from Democratic leaders and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, so they plan to seek support from voters.

The proposed amendment must pass with a three-fifths majority in both houses in a single year, or with a simple majority in two consecutive years in order to appear on the ballot.

Under the amendments, voters are being asked whether to approve recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. All sales of cannabis products would be subject to the 6.625% sales tax. Towns could also pass ordinances to charge a local tax as well.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Well, they at least are finally bring rec MJ to some sort of vote....now, its a referendum.

I expect this to pass easily based on polling figures for NJ residents.

But, as we have seen in FL and elsewhere, the key is in the exact wording of the referendum and the extent that this wording will prevent recalcitrant legislators from trying to hamstring the program via subsequent legislation.


It's official: New Jersey voters to decide on marijuana legalization


New Jersey voters will decide next year whether to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use.

Super-majorities in the state Senate and Assembly on Monday approved putting on the November 2020 ballot a question that if approved would make cannabis use legal in the Garden State for anyone over age 21.

In the Senate, it was passed by 24-16, exactly the number of votes required to constitute a three-fifths super-majority. The Assembly voted 49-23 with one abstention.
“We support any move beyond prohibition,” said Charlana McKeithen, executive director of Garden State NORML, part of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Now marijuana consumers and anyone who supports reform can cast a vote for freedom.”

The measure needs approval by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to go before the voters. Murphy ran on a platform that included legalizing marijuana.
“I’m pleased, but somewhat surprised” by the vote, said Scott Rudder, a former Republican assemblyman who is now president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. "We’ve had 82 years of cannabis prohibition, so this was necessarily going to take time. We hoped it would get done through legislative process. That wasn’t in the cards.

“Now, we have a significant majority in both the Assembly and Senate. All polling has suggested that this is overwhelmingly supported by voters, so we expect a positive outcome in 2020. But remember, there are those that are opposed to it and will spend a lot of money to try to defeat it.”
Rudder said the CannaBusiness Association and advocates would promote their views on legalization aggressively to ensure a victory. “We’re not going to take anything for granted,” he said.

In recent polls, 60% of New Jersey’s voters indicated they favored legalizing cannabis for recreational use. If approved by the voters, New Jersey would become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize recreational marijuana.

One of those who will likely work to defeat the measure was Robert Zlotnick, executive director of Atlantic Prevention Resources and an outgoing member of the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

“I don’t think the voters have any more knowledge about this area than the Legislature does,” Zlotnick said. "I don’t think what they’re doing is in the best interest of the citizens.

"The voters ‘aren’t going to get their taste,’ as Tony Soprano might say. They’re selling this as a social justice issue, but that’s bull,” Zlotnick said. “They’re doing what will make the most money for the most politically connected people.”

If voters approve the referendum question, anyone over 21 would be able to use cannabis in New Jersey. A regulatory commission would oversee sales. Purchases would be subject to the state’s sales tax, and host towns would be able to set their own levies of up to 2%.

“The Senate and Assembly just agreed to amend the constitution to allow marijuana sales — but that day could be pretty far off,” said Chris Goldstein, a South Jersey organizer for NORML. “Even after voters get a say, it could be years until regulated sales take place. I just hope it doesn’t take years for police to stop arresting consumers.”

In March, a plan to legalize marijuana through legislation fell apart, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D., Gloucester) pulled the bill after realizing it was short of the 21 votes needed to pass the upper chamber.

“Legalization is a significant step in public policy that will have a real-life impact on social justice, law enforcement, and the lives of people in communities throughout New Jersey,” Sweeney said in a statement issued after the Monday vote.

“With the public’s approval, we will be able to move forward to correct social and legal injustices that have had a discriminatory impact on communities of color at the same time marijuana is regulated and made safe and legal for adults.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Wow, almost makes me want to come out of retirement and go to work....well, not really hahah

This is actually a very important decision, in particular as supported by the NJ Court of Appeals panel and their finding that there is no preemption of Fed law in this case.

Now, I have to ask....why the fuck does almost everybody ever shown in an MJ article pic getting high have dirty finger nails? I ask why.

Doesn't' matter if its a guy or gal, black/white/Asian/martian...it doesn't matter.

I guess they think anybody who uses MJ can't figure out how to clean themselves?

The complete and utter stereotypes used in most media AND vape mang adverts pics just annoy me (which, honestly, ain't that hard to do! haha)


N.J. company must pay for employee’s medical marijuana, appeals court rules

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In a ruling that could have far-reaching effects, an appeals court in New Jersey ruled this week that a contractor must reimburse a former employee for the cost of the medical marijuana that he uses to treat his incessant pain from a work-related injury.

“This is huge. And the significance of this court decision cannot be overstated,” said Steve Schain, a lawyer with the Hoban Law Group, which specializes in cannabis law. “It sets a precedent for other state’s workers’ comp programs and national private health insurers.”

Related stories


Vincent Hager was a 28-year-old laborer in 2001 when a truck delivering concrete dumped its load onto him, according to court documents. The resulting nerve damage, and the spinal surgery Hager underwent to relieve the pain, left him unable to work. His employer, M&K Construction, denied his workers’ compensation claim for 15 years, according to court documents.

Hager became addicted to his opioid painkillers. A doctor suggested that Hager wean himself off oxycodone, OxyContin, and Valium with medical marijuana. It worked, and Hager successfully stopped taking the powerful drugs.

The cost of medical marijuana is not usually covered by insurance. That’s because marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 substance by the federal government. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains that marijuana has no accepted medical use, despite laws in 33 states that allow the drug for selected ailments.

Hager, who uses two ounces of state-approved medical cannabis every 30 days, spends about $616 out-of-pocket a month.

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In 2018, a worker’s compensation judge ruled that Hager had indeed been injured on the job. The judge ordered M&K to reimburse Hager for the cost of medical marijuana and any related expenses. The company balked and appealed.

M&K claimed that the federal Controlled Substances Act preempted New Jersey’s medical marijuana laws. M&K’s lawyers said it would be aiding Hager in the commission of a crime if it reimbursed him for medical marijuana.

“We are not persuaded,” said the unanimous three-judge appellate division panel in its ruling.

“One cannot aid and abet a complete crime,” the appeals court wrote. “M&K is not purchasing or distributing the medical marijuana on behalf of [Hager]; it is only reimbursing him for his legal use of the substance.”

The New Jersey ruling sets a precedent because it marked the first time that a reimbursement case was focused on the Controlled Substances Act, said Jenifer Dana Kaufman, a workers’ compensation lawyer based in Abington. Kaufman has two similar cases pending in Pennsylvania — one in Brookville, Jefferson County, and another in Reading.

“Saying it’s illegal is not enough,” Kaufman said. “The court took issue with whether federal law trumps state law and found if there’s not federal preemption, state law applies.”

There have been courts in other states — Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Mexico — that ruled that specific injured workers must be reimbursed for their medical marijuana.

The New Jersey case is an important example of the courts “recognizing the consequences of legalizing marijuana.” said Bill Roark, co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Medical Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee.

“On the surface, it’s a small issue,” Roark said. “But the courts have to get into the weeds, no pun intended, to provide clarity for the law and expand patient rights.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
New Jersey Lawmakers Considering Bills to Increase Medical Marijuana Protections

Two bills to improve medical marijuana regulations are making their way through Legislature


Lawmakers in New Jersey took steps this week toward enshrining protections for marijuana companies in the state and individuals on workers compensation prescribed to medical cannabis.
Two bills were passed out of the state Assembly committee on financial institutions on Thursday. One measure would establish protections for insurance companies and employees that do business marijuana-related companies to ensure that they will not be held liable from any state or local government for engaging in such business. The bill would also ensure that no insurer is required to engage in business with a marijuana company.
“As we move forward addressing marijuana as a medicine and holding up industries, we have to put in place, first protections for our residents, but also protections for professional businesses that participate in the industry,” said Democratic Assemblyman and sponsor of the bill Joe Danielsen, as quoted by NJ.com.
The other bill would require “workers’ compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for medical marijuana under certain circumstances.”

The legislation “provides that personal injury protection automobile insurance benefits and workers’ compensation benefits must include coverage for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana provided that the insured or the employee is a qualifying patient…and at least one other medication or treatment has been attempted and found to be unsuccessful in treating the debilitating medical condition that qualified the patient for the medical use of marijuana.”
The Next Steps
Both bills, which will now be taken up by the state Senate, are a reflection of the tension that remains between states like New Jersey, where medical marijuana is legal, and the federal government, which continues to list pot as a banned controlled substance.
“I feel very strongly that we have gone in the right direction in New Jersey with medical marijuana,” Democratic Assemblywoman Joann Downey said, as quoted by NJ.com. “I think you’re pretty safe in terms of being able to go ahead and cover these things.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on his final day in office in 2010. In December, New Jersey lawmakers passed a measure to put a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana on this year’s ballot.
Voters will decide whether to approve the measure, which if passed, would permit adults aged 21 and older to use marijuana, while imposing the state sales tax rate of 6.6225% to sales of recreational pot.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
NJ Court Rules Medical Marijuana Patients Cannot Be Fired For Failed Drug Test

New Jersey workers can’t be fired for failing a drug test as a result of using medical marijuana, the state’s highest court ruled on Tuesday.
In a decision that backed an appellate court’s earlier ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court said that patients approved under the state’s medical marijuana program are indeed protected under the Law Against Discrimination.



The case centered around an employee at a funeral home who was prescribed medical cannabis after being diagnosed with cancer in 2015. According to NJ.com, the plaintiff, Justin Wild, informed his higher-ups of the prescription the following year after he was involved in a car accident, which the suit claims was not his fault.
“Wild sued, arguing that he had been discriminated against,” NJ.com reported. “A Superior Court judge initially dismissed his case, but an appellate court sided with Wild.”
Medical Cannabis and Employment
In its ruling last year, the appellate court said it “would be ironic indeed if the Compassionate Use Act,” the state law permitting medical marijuana use for qualifying patients, “limited the Law Against Discrimination to permit an employer’s termination of a cancer patient’s employment by discriminating without compassion.”
In its affirmation of the appellate court ruling, the state Supreme Court noted on Tuesday that the physician who treated Wild’s injuries from the car accident said “it was clear [plaintiff] was not under the influence of marijuana, and therefore no blood tests were required.” Nevertheless, Wild’s boss, David Feeney, said he would need to complete a drug test before returning to work.
The Supreme Court concurred with the appellate ruling that Wild “has stated a claim sufficient to survive defendants’ motion to dismiss and that there is no conflict between the Compassionate Use Act and the LAD,” and that the “Compassionate Use Act does have an impact on plaintiff’s existing employment rights.”
“In a case such as this, in which plaintiff alleges that the Compassionate Use Act authorized his use of medical marijuana outside the workplace, that Act’s provisions may be harmonized with the law governing LAD disability discrimination claims,” the court said Tuesday.
Former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana on his final day in office in 2010. Last month, New Jersey lawmakers initiated bills aimed at establishing protections for marijuana companies in the state and individuals on workers compensation prescribed to medical cannabis.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Poll Shows Strong Support For New Jersey Legalization Ballot Measure

The results of a New Jersey poll released on Thursday show strong support for a November ballot measure that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the state. The Monmouth University Poll found that more than six out of 10 Garden State residents were in favor of the ballot question.



If successful, the referendum would amend the New Jersey Constitution to legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults and allow those 21 and older to purchase small quantities of marijuana from businesses regulated by the state. Lawmakers voted late last year to put the measure on the November ballot after a bid to legalize cannabis failed to pass in the legislature.
The Monmouth poll found that 61% of voters would vote in favor of the ballot question while 34% said they would vote against it. Only 5% said that they had no opinion. The poll of 704 adults was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute of West Long Branch, New Jersey via telephone on April 16 through April 19. The results include the responses of 635 registered voters and have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
Widespread Support for Legalization
Support for legalization was strongest among Democrats, with 74% in favor, while 60% of independents and 40% of Republicans said that they would vote for the measure. The poll also asked respondents how they felt about marijuana legalization and found that 48% said it was a good idea, 30% said it was a bad idea, and 22% said that they had no opinion.
“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Six out of 10 New Jersey voters, or 62%, said that legalizing cannabis would help the state’s economy, while 21% said it would have no impact and 10% said legalization would harm the economy. Just over a quarter, or 27%, said that they believed legalizing marijuana will lead to an increase in other drug crimes and 22% believe it will actually reduce crimes related to other drugs. Almost half, or 46%, said they don’t believe legalization will have an impact either way on other drug crimes.
Details to Follow
Although the poll showed strong support for legalization, activists worry it might not be palatable to voters when they actually see the ballot question, which is thin on detail and requires the legislature to pass regulations to enact it.“The poll numbers show that there is a lot of work to do to ensure success in November,” said Bill Caruso, a founding member of New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform and an attorney who represents various cannabis-related clients.
“The problem is the details of this proposal aren’t defined because the statute hasn’t passed yet. That’s going to be a problem going into the fall to try to explain to the public what will come If legalization happens.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Strange place, NJ is.

New Jersey voters support legalizing recreational cannabis, just not selling it

Momentum to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Jersey has existed before, but the matter will rest in voter ballots this election.
According to a new Monmouth University poll, recreational marijuana has majority support in the state.



State lawmakers have attempted multiple bids to legalize cannabis through the legislature over the past couple of years, but they failed to gather the necessary votes. Instead, they voted late last year to put legalization forward as a ballot question, which has emerged as the primary political vehicle to end prohibition at the state level.
A Monmouth poll released in April found that 61 per cent of respondents would approve the ballot question this November. Another 34 per cent plan to vote ‘No’ while five per cent said they have no opinion. Support is highest among Democrats (74 per cent) and Independents (64 per cent), but Republican voters (40 per cent) aren’t as keen on legal cannabis.
Less than 50 per cent of voters believe allowing the sale of marijuana to adults aged 21 and older through licensed retailers is a good idea. That comes as a surprise as the ballot question with majority approval would accomplish exactly that. But only 30 per cent consider it a bad idea while 22 per cent state they have no opinion.

Residents may support legalizing marijuana, just so long as stores don’t appear in their backyards.
“Support for the marijuana ballot measure is widespread, in part because many who have no opinion on whether legalization is a good idea figure they might as well vote for it,” Patrick Murray, director of Monmouth’s Polling Institute, said in a statement.
This conflict isn’t anything new in New Jersey. Residents may support legalizing marijuana, just so long as stores don’t appear in their backyards. A 2018 Quinnipiac poll found only 50 per cent of state residents would welcome marijuana stores into their communities, while 45 per cent opposed cannabis sales in their town. More than 50 towns/municipalities have already banned legal cannabis from entering their communities.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
N.J. lawmakers advance second bill to decriminalize weed

As people across the state and country continue to protest police brutality and mass incarceration that has disproportionately affected the Black community, New Jersey lawmakers have moved a second bill seeking to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The measure, a merger of A1897 and A4269, advanced from the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee Monday morning. It seeks to reform criminal and civil justice issues by lessening the legal consequences for marijuana possession and broadening awareness of expungement relief.

The bill proposes to regrade offenses for possessing or distributing less than five pounds of marijuana or one pound of hashish. Currently, having between one ounce and five pounds of marijuana results in punishments of three to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000. Distributing less than one ounce can land someone in jail for up to 18 months and levy a $10,000 fine on them.

Enforcing cannabis possession laws costs the state around $127 million each year, according to the Assembly Majority Office. A recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union found New Jersey police arrest Black people for weed offenses at 3.5 times the rate they arrest white people, despite similar rates of use among both groups.

Even as 61% of New Jersey voters say they would vote yes on a ballot question seeking to spur a legal weed industry in the Garden State, police continue to arrest nearly 100 people a day for marijuana offenses.

The civil unrest around the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have shed a spotlight on police brutality nationally, reigniting debates about the broad powers granted to police and the ways departments enforce laws in communities of color. Those who argue for cannabis reform say decriminalizing marijuana can lead to less interactions between police and Black people, and allow them to avoid drug stops that could turn fatal.

Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Passaic, the bill’s prime sponsor, said current weed penalties have ravaged Black communities, leaving many unable to take out loans, apply for housing or find good paying jobs because of convictions on their records.

“This gives them a good chance to be productive citizens, and it’s also a move in the right direction to give people a clean slate,” he said during the hearing.

Members of the state Senate introduced a broader decriminalization bill earlier this month that would stop arrests for possession of up to a pound of weed, but would not legalize its use. Instead of jail time, though, those found with marijuana would receive first a written warning, and then a $25 fine for subsequent offenses.

Senators have yet to consider the bill in a committee.

The bill in the state Assembly does not go as far, and comes from two measures that initially established varying possession amounts and fines. A1897 called for decriminalizing possession of less than 10 grams of weed and replacing arrests with fines of $150 for a first violation, a $200 fine for a second and $500 for each following offense.

Some of those who testified, and Assemblyman Ryan Peters, R-Burlington, said they had not yet seen the text of the A4269. Peters chose to abstain from the vote, noting he had received the bill less than an hour before the committee meeting began.

A brief summary of A4269 said the bill “provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly with respect to legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offenses as well as broadening awareness of available expungement relief.”

It imposes fines of $50 for up to possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, and levels new, scaled penalties for amounts above that threshold. The committee substitute, made public later Monday, uses the two ounces and $50 fine as the base for decriminalization, rather than the 10 grams outlined in A1897.

Marijuana reform advocates who testified before the committee Monday said they supported the bill as a way to address the disproportionate arrests of Black people. But two, Charlana McKeithen of Garden State NORML and DeVaughn Ward of the Marijuana Policy Project, said they preferred the Senate bill previously introduced for its sweeping reforms.

“It has a more broad social justice position,” McKeithen said, urging lawmakers to amend the Assembly bill to mirror the Senate proposal.

Ward also said the fines in the Assembly bill could harm those found with weed in their possession, particularly those already facing economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

“The fines outlined are a tad excessive,” he said. “The fines that are outlined could prevent individuals from making rent, keeping the lights on, putting food on the table.”

A1897 also initially called for some people to enter drug treatment programs. The controversial proposal comes from legislation by Sen. Ron Rice, D-Essex, that marijuana advocates have criticized. That language is absent from the merger.

Still, those who testified said the time for waiting on marijuana reform has run out.

“It’s time for the change we seek,” Assemblywoman Angelia McKnight, D-Hudson, said in a statement. “New Jersey residents are not happy with the status quo and we need to move in a direction of compassion for the communities that have long been targeted by current regulatory criteria. The call for action, for social justice reform, is resounding throughout our nation. And it begins with legislation such as this.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Your NJ medical marijuana is about to get cheaper: Here’s why


The New Jersey sales tax on medical marijuana will be cut to 4% on July 1, down from 6.625%, the first step in a three-year plan to phase out state taxes on medicinal cannabis purchases.
On July 1, 2021, the state sales tax will be reduced even more — to 2%. In 2022, it will be completely erased.
That doesn’t mean medical weed will be completely tax-free: Municipalities are still permitted to levy a 2% “transfer tax” on purchases within their borders, though no town has instituted such a tax yet.
The sales tax phaseout was a key part of last year’s Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, which also legalized medical marijuana edibles, raised the monthly allowance to 3 ounces per patient and required them to re-certify just once a year.



The law was named after Jake Honig, a 7-year-old from Howell for whom medical marijuana provided the only relief from an inoperable brain tumor. Honig died in 2018.
Activists have decried the policy of instituting any tax on medical marijuana purchases as “criminal,” since over-the-counter and prescription medicines at traditional pharmacies are exempt from New Jersey sales tax.
“How dare we use the term ‘medical’ and charge poor people and working people and families sales tax on something that helps them feel better,” Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, said last year when the bill was up for a vote. He voted for the bill.
Over 77,000 patients are registered with the New Jersey medical marijuana program, but supply issues — and the resulting exorbitant prices, up to $500 for an ounce of medical marijuana — have plagued the program from its inception.
For example, an ounce of “Green Fire OG” currently retails at $440 per ounce at Curaleaf NJ, a dispensary in Bellmawr. With the current sales tax, the patient would pay $29.15 in taxes for a total of $469.15.
After July 1, that tax paid would drop to $17.60 for a total of $457.60.
Only nine medical marijuana dispensaries are currently open statewide, with other pre-approved locations held up in legal battles.
In November, New Jerseyans will vote on a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes and permit recreational dispensaries.
Some legislators hope to pass a bill to decriminalize weed, with a fine of as little as $25 for possession, before then.
 

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