There have been talks in New Jersey surrounding the decriminalization of marijuana which has sparked a lot of mixed reactions from various constituents around the state. In fact, many have a differing opinion as to whether this is the right move to make or not.
There is a marijuana bill with issues surrounding both recreational and medical marijuana that is currently being reviewed. This bill proposes the expansion of the medical marijuana program and the legalization of possessing and using marijuana for adults above the age of 21 years. If this bill is to become law, the possession of an ounce of marijuana will immediately be decriminalized.
With that said, here are 5 things you should know about marijuana decriminalization in New Jersey:
- It Will Result In An Increase In Marijuana Dispensaries
New Jersey currently has 6 medical marijuana dispensaries. With the passing of the bill to decriminalize marijuana, the result will be an increase in the number of these dispensaries. There is a possibility of hundreds of recreational dispensaries being set up across the state along with medical marijuana stores.
It is proposed that for each of the 40 legislative districts in Jersey there be at least two recreational dispensaries and an extra 40 in other places around the state. These dispensaries will be established systematically as the reported number of marijuana patients increases.
- Predefined Places For Using Marijuana
With the decriminalization of marijuana, there would be predefined places in New Jersey where people would be allowed to consume it openly. In each of the marijuana dispensaries that is set up, there will be a lounge where people who’ve just bought the marijuana can consume it.
This is a progressive move for consumption in the public space as it was previously limited to consumption within a private residence.
- Marijuana Taxes Will Be Applicable
There are marijuana taxes that will be applicable with its decriminalization. In the initial year, recreational marijuana will attract a 10% exercise tax for each purchase which will progressively increase to 15% in the following year. This will then grow to 20% in the third year followed by an increase to 25% in the 4th year and remain that way in the subsequent years that follow.
It is estimated that the New Jersey market will make around $300 million in tax revenue every year from marijuana. Medical marijuana tax will be eliminated after 3 years. Patients currently pay 7% tax.
- Reduction Of Marijuana Related Crimes
Decriminalizing marijuana is expected to ultimately reduce the number of people and the record of crimes related to marijuana in New Jersey. There will be lesser people being convicted and taken to prison because of it.
- Possible Clearance Of Old Marijuana Arrests
Decriminalization of marijuana in New Jersey comes with the possibility of clearance of old marijuana arrests. People with recorded convictions of possession of marijuana in low-levels will be eligible for clearance of their charges but they will be required to apply for clearance.
There is a bill that has been introduced that will Expunge a Marijuana Charge in NJ. The expungements are expected to be automatic. The bill is however still being reviewed.