MIKE CATALINI – Associated Press
Trenton, New Jersey (AP) – Recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey for people under the age of 21 will begin on April 21, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.
Murphy’s ad on Twitter appeared just three days after government regulators permissions with green lighting for seven facilities that already sell medical cannabis to start retailing marijuana for leisure.
“This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry,” Murphy said.
The news came about a year after the state regulatory commission began work, and a year and a half after voters overwhelmingly approved the issue of allowing marijuana for vacations for people 21 and older.
New Jersey is one of 18 states along with the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana for recreation. There are also 37 states, including New Jersey, that have legalized medical marijuana.
Three of the seven facilities, known as alternative treatment centers, are located in the northern part of the state. Three are in the south, and one in downtown New Jersey.
To gain approval, the centers agreed that the future influx of holiday shoppers would not impede patient access. Institutions have said they will reserve parking spaces for patients and will also keep hours open for patients only.
According to the commission, there are about 130,000 medical marijuana patients in the state, with about 800,000 potential leisure users and less than 800,000 “tourism” users.
Alternative treatment centers, which have already had medical cannabis retailers, are gaining a head start in the leisure market, but regulators have made efforts to their advantage. Centers must meet social justice standards, such as providing technical expertise to new marijuana companies, especially social justice applicants – those in economically difficult parts of the state or people who have committed cannabis crimes.
“We remain committed to social justice,” said Diana Jaen, chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. “We promised to build this market on the basis of social justice and security. In the end, we hope to see businesses and a workforce that reflect the diversity of the state. ”
How much tax revenue New Jersey earns from recreational marijuana is unclear. Murphy’s budget for fiscal year 2023, which is being considered by the Democrat-led legislature, estimates revenue at just $ 19 million with a budget of nearly $ 49 billion. In 2019, as the legalization of recreational marijuana was still pending elections, he estimated a profit of about $ 60 million.
Legislation governing the recreational market provides for a sales tax of 6.625%, with 70% of the proceeds going to areas disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests. Black residents are three times more likely to face marijuana charges than white residents. Cities can also levy up to 2% tax.
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