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Cannabis News: Murphy gives the State of State, JC Preps Dispensary Tax

The impasse created by the clean-up bill’s collapse after pushback from legislators has not been solved as there is cannabis news out of Jersey City which wants to tax future medical cannabis sales.

Governor Phil Murphy gave the State of the State today virtually instead of inside the Assembly Chamber, as is tradition. While focused on COVID, he touched on cannabis reform.

Murphy said they are working on cannabis reform and noted the referendum’s passage supported by two-thirds of the state. He repeated the now-common refrain that cannabis prohibition disproportionately penalizes black and brown people. Murphy also said he wanted to help promote cannabis businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans.

“This hasn’t been an easy fight,” Murphy admitted.

Legislators seem uneager to make this an issue further since the bills passed a month 25 days ago on December 17th and made cannabis news.

Murphy still wants some penalty to exist on minors.

“I’m still optimistic we’re gonna figure something out,” Murphy said at a press conference Monday.

He noted they have had two principles here present from the beginning.

“The last thing we need is more young kids getting tangled up in the criminal justice system. None of us want that,” Murphy said.

In addition, “this was never about legalizing marijuana for our kids. That’s never what this was about. That’s not what the voters voted on in the referendum,” he explained. “We somehow have to thread a needle that gets both of those accomplished.”

Murphy noted he is against mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. They are working on a bill to address that.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Murphy said, quoting Martin Luther King.

His delay is denying justice for many people charged with small amounts of cannabis possession.

Medical Cannabis News in Jersey City

Meanwhile, Jersey City made cannabis news yesterday. They seek to impose a tax on medical cannabis before it even gets a dispensary.

Mayor Steven Fulop explained to the Jersey City Council at their Monday caucus meeting before the Wednesday council meeting that he believes funds from medical cannabis should go towards the city’s affordable housing trust fund.

“We just thought the affordable housing trust fund is something that is in need and we wanted to be in support of,” Fulop said.

Money from a tax on recreational cannabis in the future could go towards other priorities such as public schools, as well as homeless and addiction issues, he added.

“Other states that have done this, they have received more revenue from recreational marijuana than medical marijuana. But I do think the affordable housing trust fund is a good place to start,” said Ward D Councilman Yousef Saleh.

Medical cannabis tax revenue is not likely to lead to a large amount. It might be cannabis news to politicians that medical cannabis is not covered by insurance. A tax on it only makes its cost more onerous for patients.

About two hundred applied for a license a year and a half ago during an intense two-month window only to see a lawsuit hold the licenses up. Some of them must have applied for a license in Jersey City.

Jersey City has long been one of the towns in New Jersey more eager than others to advertise that they support cannabis reform.

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