NJ marijuana legalization: Home grow, 400 legal weed dispensaries OK in new bill

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Business interests are lining up, years before New Jersey legalizes marijuana. But it won’t be easy to get your foot in the cannabis market. Here are three problems facing the weed industry. Mike Davis

TRENTON – New Jersey could become home to hundreds of legal marijuana dispensaries and users would be allowed to grow legal weed at home under new marijuana legalization legislation introduced Tuesday.

The bill, proposed by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, calls for a much more open market than first envisioned by proponents, with some 400 marijuana dispensaries and a lower tax rate on legal weed.

The Senate and Assembly are expected to try and find common ground between Gusciora’s bill and the one proposed by Sen. Nick Scutari, D-Union, which took a more conservative approach to the state’s nascent legalization movement

Gov. Phil Murphy, as a candidate for the office he has held since January, made marijuana legalization a priority, citing social justice concerns. In his budget address Tuesday, Murphy said he was committed to passing a legal weed bill this year.

But marijuana legalization has become a galvanizing issue, with legislators on both sides of the aisle rallying against it.

Instead, some are proposing marijuana decriminalization, in which marijuana offenders would be subjected to penalties similar to a traffic ticket. It’s one of many potential issues facing New Jersey’s weed industry, which you can learn about in the video at the top of the page.

“We’ve seen from other states that the tax revenues from legalization pale in comparison to the costs associated with drugged driving, more hospital admissions, increased law enforcement, lost tourism dollars, and other costs to our communities,” said Jeanette Hoffman, a spokeswoman for anti-legalization advocacy group New Jersey Responsible Approaches To Marijuana Policy.

In his budget address on Tuesday, Murphy said “decriminalization alone will not put the corner dealer out of business.

“It will not help protect our kids and it will not end the racial disparities (in marijuana arrests) we see,” he said.

Here are some of the main differences in the new marijuana legalization bill introduced Tuesday.

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