Within the last 24 hours, hopes for the passage of legislation to legalize adult use cannabis have soared in New Jersey and soured in New York.
Governor Murphy and state legislative leaders agreed late Monday night on the remaining terms to for wide ranging cannabis legislation in New Jersey. No draft bill is currently available because the details and precise language still needs to be crafted, but the bill will provide for expedited expungement of criminal records for minor cannabis offenses, a flat $42 per ounce tax, and allow municipalities to add up to 3% tax on retail sales. Proponents are pushing to complete drafting and whipping votes for a possible floor vote on March 25, 2019. Under prior drafts of the bill, even if passed in March, adult use cannabis likely would not be available in New Jersey until early next year.
Across the border, in New York there had been much discussion of Governor Cuomo’s detailed plan to pass adult use legislation through the budget bill. However, today the Governor announced that he was no longer confident that the cannabis language would be included in the final budget. The Governor’s proposal generated significant discussion across the state and with only two weeks left in the budget season, the Governor expressed that there were just too many issues to work through in that short a time period.
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is carefully monitoring developments in New Jersey and federally with respect to marijuana legislation and will be available to help its clients navigate the sure-to-be complex regulatory framework of this potential business frontier.