Governor Phil Murphy will likely have to conditionally veto the cannabis bills and hope the legislature changes them. That is doubtful. Meanwhile, the Jersey City Council passed a medical cannabis tax.
“The last thing any of us want is our kids getting tied up in the criminal justice system. Especially kids of color,” Murphy said. “And secondly, the voters voted to legalize adult-use marijuana. It said it right in the referendum, 21 and up; that’s always been the case.”
It will have been 45 days since the bills passed by Feb 8th. By that time, the bills become law without his signature. Murphy is especially desperate to make a deal by tomorrow on cannabis legislation. He faces the choice of the bill becoming law without his signature or vetoing one of his signature issues. Or conditionally vetoing the bill and hoping the legislature acts accordingly.
Thus, a conditional veto looks like the most logical choice. That’s essentially what he wanted to happen with the failed clean-up bill. The legislature needs to work out a deal. The votes need to be whipped for it. Murphy and the legislative leaders made a deal for the clean-up bill. It was made without input from the Black Caucus, who rejected it after it passed committees. Nothing has indicated they are more amenable to a penalty. A slap on the wrist could be the start of becoming a second-class citizen as a felon.
The delay has been infuriating because a deal was already made between Murphy and the legislative leaders on cannabis legalization. The bills should have been reviewed with a fine-tooth comb at that time. Even then, it might not have been discovered since there were discrepancies between the Senate and Assembly versions of the bills that further delayed the process before they were passed on Dec 17th.
Everyone believes there be a deal eventually. Hopefully, the adult-use cannabis rollout will be smoother than it has been thus far.
Jersey City Passes Medical Cannabis Tax
A medical cannabis tax on dispensaries that would go to Jersey City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund passed the council on second reading unanimously 9-0.
“We definitely need money for affordable housing and still have to face the school budget shortfall that’s likely coming,” Ward E Councilman James Solomon said.
He noted that before voting in favor of the medical cannabis tax of two percent.
“With a $60 million shortfall, we’re gonna need every dollar we can get,” he added.
The only person who spoke during the medical cannabis tax hearing was Yvonne Balcer. She said there might be a correlation between psychosis and cannabis use. She claimed that was the opinion of doctors. Balcer also wanted to know if there were any revenue projections.
No such numbers were forthcoming likely because adult-use cannabis instead of medical is expected to generate revenue worth counting.
There are no dispensaries yet in Jersey City.