This week New Jersey lawmakers will vote on whether or not to legalize recreational cannabis throughout the state. The vote, which is on Monday, is expected to be extremely tight, will determine whether or not Jersey becomes the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis. It’s a pretty tight race and whether or not it passes is anyone’s guess.
What’s in the Proposed Bill?
The bill, if passed, would make it legal for adults age 21 and up to possess up to an ounce of dried flower. It also establishes a 5 person regulatory committee to oversee all the rules and regulations required to run the legal market. The bill contains another provision that no state has ever had before: the bill calls for the expungement of all possession charges of up to an ounce. Individual cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have begun the expungement of minor cannabis offenses, but this is the first time this has been tried by an entire state.
Though legalization was popular in the state democratic party (it helped them win an election even), some state democrats seem to have lost their enthusiasm for legalization. Even some who supported the bill while it was in committee have not said whether or not they will vote for it. What was once looking promising now looks tenuous at best.
Later this week Jersey lawmakers will hopefully vote on the SAFE act, which would permit banks to do business with cannabis companies, so long as they were compliant with state law. The current federal status of cannabis prohibits banks from doing any sort of business with dispensaries, growers, or anyone even remotely involved with the industry.
All Eyes are on Jersey
Both proponents and opponents of legalization are keeping a close eye on what’s happening in Jersey because New York will likely follow. If the state senate fails to pass the bill, New Jersey will have to put off legalization until the 2020 election, which will of course postpone legalization in New York. If on the other hand, the measure does pass, New York will follow, and eventually the rest of the east coast.
Source: ABC News
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