After New Jersey governor-elect Phil Murphy promised to legalize recreational marijuana in the state in his first 100 days in office, the state’s municipalities are now left to make a choice: should they allow pot business and reap the benefits of pot taxes, or should they shut down their doors to the industry despite the state’s mandate?
The bill which was authored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and its use for recreational purposes. In traditional democratic fashion, it also allows each municipality to have the final word on whether they will allow pot sales within their jurisdictions. Municipalities who will not participate in the sales however, will not be able to receive a share from the estimated $300 million in annual tax revenue that the industry is projected to generate.
Weighing the pros and cons of NJ Cannabis
As citizens of the state and leaders of each municipality weigh the arguments for and against the issue, they can conveniently look at other states for example.
In Colorado, for instance, 176 out of its 272 municipalities said no to marijuana sales. This created issues both expected and unforeseen. It still created an increase in the number of pot possessions among middle and high school students in municipalities where sales were not allowed.
Enforcement expenses also increased due to the rise in complaints about growers growing more than the legally allowed number in order to sell the excess interstate, among other related issues.
Other towns however were more willing to take the risk for the hefty revenue.
So what’s it gonna be for New Jersey? All eyes are set as to the future of pot laws in the state and how they’re going to carry out these new rules.