New Jersey legislature advances bill to legalize recreational marijuana

New Jersey legislature advances bill to legalize recreational marijuana

Committees in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate on Monday night advanced a measure aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana. 

The move came after a marathon-like day at the capital that involved hours of delay and backroom wrangling, according to The Associated Press

ADVERTISEMENT

The news service noted that New Jersey would become the 11th state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize recreational marijuana if the bill were to become law. 

The legislation now will head to floor in both chambers, with votes expected next week, according to NJ.com. It remains unclear if it has enough votes to pass in the Assembly and Senate, but the governor is likely to sign it into law if it does.

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in his State of State address in January called for legalizing recreational marijuana for adults. 

“By legalizing adult-use marijuana — first and foremost — we can reverse the inequality and unfairness left from years of failed drug policies and shift public safety resources to where they can do the most good,” Murphy said in January.

The AP noted that the bill that passed on Monday included many of the provisions Murphy had already announced. For example, the bill would include a $42-per-ounce tax on marijuana. 

The measure also includes provisions giving towns the ability to impose taxes of up to 3 percent given the circumstances. 

State legislators said in a statement that funds from these taxes would go toward "development, regulations, and enforcement of cannabis activities," according to AP. The taxes would also go toward paying for costs of expunging marijuana records.