Steven Schain

How gung ho is New Jersey’s proposed adult-use marijuana program?

With Gov. Phil Murphy estimating over $850 million in 2019 sales, the program will allow selling all cannabis products (flower, vape, concentrates and edibles), anyone over 21 to purchase an ounce of flower, 7 grams of “concentrate” and 16 ounces of edibles, and will license five types of marijuana-related businesses (MRBs): cultivation/manufacturing; processing; wholesaling; transporting and retailing.

Further, because the program would provide New Jersey’s existing medical MRBs with provisional adult-use licenses, current medical marijuana dispensaries could start selling adult-use marijuana within 180 days.

Beyond generating tens of millions of annual tax revenue, New Jersey’s adult-use marijuana program will decimate neighboring states’ medical marijuana programs.

Existing Medical Marijuana Program and Proposed Adult-Use Legislation

Comprised of 15,000 registered patients and six “vertically integrated MRBs” (i.e., grower, processor and dispensary consolidated into one facility), New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is governed by its Department of Health pursuant to the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 et seq..

Presently pending before New Jersey’s legislature are two adult-use marijuana bills. Introduced on May 17, 2017, by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, Senate Bill S3195 has been before the Senate Judiciary Committee since January 2018. Introduced on March 12 by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Bill No. A3581 is before the Assembly’s oversight committee which is holding general hearings.

Roughly similar, Bill S3195 and Bill A3581 differ on the following: first, although Bill S3195 does not provide for home marijuana growing, Bill A3581 allows adults to grow up to six plants, three of which could be mature at any given time. Second, Bill A3581 would allow more than 400 dispensaries statewide whereas Bill S3195 provides no defined number requiring regulators to establish a cap. Third, while both have annual increasing tax rates, Bill S3195 tops out at 25 percent

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