5 takeaways from New Jersey’s invoice to legalize hashish
New Jersey cannabis legislation is moving fast. The Garden State will soon open the use and sale of recreational activities and join 14 other states in America’s recent Green Rush.
The passage of Question 2 by the state in the November 3rd election legalized adult cannabis, but now it is up to lawmakers to set the detailed rules. Leafly went deep into the weed of NJ’s 200-page bill and brought out the key takeaways you need to know ahead of the scheduled December 17th vote.
According to its authors, the Cannabis Regulation, Enforcement, and Market Modernization Act was written in New Jersey to create a free and equitable cannabis market while removing the plant from the statewide list of List I medicines.
The bill takes into account everything from social justice provisions and minority business development to standard rules for producers and traders.
Here are five major takeaways:
1. New Jersey uses impact zones to prioritize restorative justice
New Jersey is prioritizing communities hardest hit by the unequal war on drugs. The law’s populous “zones of effect” include Atlantic City, Camden, East Orange, Irvington, Newark, Paterson, Trenton, and other communities.
The bill stipulates that 25% of all legal cannabis licenses will be given to residents who have lived in those zones and that additional priority will be given to businesses hiring residents of impact zones.
To qualify, an area must be in the top 40% for recent arrests of small marijuana possession, below the top 15% for unemployment, and with an overall crime index of 825 or higher.
The bill also includes programs to support micro-business loans, conditional licenses, and business development resources reserved exclusively for minorities, women and veterans with disabilities.
2. The Garden State expects enormous fiscal implications
Of the four states that voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November’s elections, New Jersey’s economic growth ceiling is likely the highest. With Garden State’s nationwide population density and proximity to major metropolitan areas like New York City and Philadelphia, the economy is ripe for a huge boost from recreational sales.
The bill assumes that the revenue from marijuana sales will be hundreds of millions annually before taking into account job creation, business growth, intellectual property development, and other increases in local property and company value.
Of the 15 states that have allowed recreational cannabis to date, only California and Illinois account for a greater proportion of the US economy than New Jersey (3.9% of national GDP).
New Jersey Marijuana Laws
In recent years, states like Washington (legal again since 2014), Massachusetts (2016), and Michigan (2018) have seen spikes in tax revenue, small business growth, and tourism after allowing recreational cannabis use.
The example of these thriving economies across the country, combined with the economic and social turmoil caused by COVID-19, was enough to bring the highly competitive bill over the line after years of detours.
3. A variety of licenses offer unique opportunities
From day one, licensing structures are put in place to ensure that a competitive market is created.
“Marketplace Modernization” was written in the name of the bill for good reason, and New Jersey is taking on the daunting task of building a billion dollar economy overnight.
For the first 18 months of the law, no company is granted a license to grow or distribute cannabis. Additional restrictions on vertical integration prevent the formation of premature monopolies.
Protecting cannabis dealers and creating legal areas of consumption are two additional methods of building trust in communities and ensuring safe and enjoyable use.
4. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission will be in charge
The New Jersey bill recognizes that the current system of law enforcement for marijuana has been a failure for both social and financial reasons.
It is said that NJ’s human and physical resources were wasted by unjust laws that arrested black and brown residents three times as likely as whites for cannabis despite similar consumption. The collateral consequences of these decades of failure include loss of access to secure employment, housing, student loans, and more.
To ensure that the state’s new path is centered on social justice, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission has been appointed to be the governing body for the state’s thriving industry.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission is made up of cannabis activists and experts who are invested in facilitating a smooth and profitable transition for everyone involved. It is headed by Dianna Houenou, former ACLU policy advisor of New Jersey.
5. Most regulations are designed to protect children and businesses
No surprises here. Most of the law’s prohibitive measures are aimed at reducing minors’ access to cannabis while preventing gangs and cartels from entering the legal industry.
With an estimated $ 300 million in additional tax revenue from first year sales, state education and law enforcement officials should have more than enough resources to remix all of this classic DARE content for a new generation.
Calvin Stovall writes and produces media in Atlanta, GA and runs day-to-day operations for The Artistic Unified Exchange, a nonprofit that protects intellectual property on behalf of independent artists and underserved communities.
Show article by Calvin Stovall