Born to Burn – Jersey’s Cannabis Shuffle
When it comes to Cannabis legalization, they’ll soon be singing a new tune in New Jersey thanks to pending legislation awaiting the Democratic-controlled senate. While NJ’s march to legalization comes on the heals of Vermont’s ultimately successful, legislature-led efforts, Jersey is more of a toss-up with just five months until state elections. And although NJ legalized medical marijuana way back in 2010, as one of outgoing Gov. Jon Corrzine’s last acts in office, his successor, Gov. Chris Christi, has made his position against cannabis legalization crystal clear.
In fact, Gov. Christie has been one of the largest obstacles standing in the way of Cannabis blooming in the Garden state. But, the country’s least popular governor will soon be swimming with the fishes, as they say in Jersey parlance, and Democratic nominee Phil Murphy has already come out in strong favor of legalization. Perhaps, it’s the potential $300 million windfall in projected tax revenues, or maybe it’s that a majority of New Jerseyans (Jerseyites?) support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults (according to a recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, that has the candidate high on Cannabis.
The legislation under consideration would permit possession of up to 1 ounce (28.35 grams) of marijuana, 16 ounces (453.58 grams) of marijuana-infused products in solids, 72 ounces (2,041 grams) in liquid form and 7 grams of concentrate. It would prohibit home cultivation, establish a Division of Marijuana Enforcement to oversee industry regulations, and slap on a sales tax from 7 – 25% over five years to encourage early participation.
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the GOP nominee, hasn’t stated her position outright, but has said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ opposition to loosening marijuana laws is a problem for legalization. So, when New Jerseyans head to the polls on Nov. 7th, they’ll be indirectly voting for the right to party. And to quote New Jersey’s most esteemed native (and, Gov. Christie’s personal favorite musician), Bruce Springsteen, “Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.”