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What would legal marijuana look like in New Jersey?

Although Gov. Chris Christie has been adamant in his disapproval of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, Christie only has a few months remaining in his final term as governor. Also, a Senate committee recently discussed how the state might legalize and regulate the drug. Could New Jersey soon legalize marijuana?

According to Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who has sponsored a bill to legalize marijuana, now is the time to start developing the recreational marijuana program in New Jersey. If passed, the bill Scutari is sponsoring would legalize the sale and possession of marijuana for adults aged 21 and up.

Here's what Bill S3195 would achieve:

  • Decriminalizing marijuana possession of a maximum of 50 grams and grant an expungment of marijuana possession crimes to those who were arrested for this offense.
  • Create a Division of Marijuana Enforcement for the state Attorney General's Office. This division would set rules to govern the legal marijuana market for both sellers and growers of the substance.
  • Make it legal to possess a maximum of one ounce of desiccated marijuana, 16 ounces of edible marijuana products, 72 ounces of liquid marijuana products and seven grams of concentrated marijuana products.
  • Implement a sales tax of 7 percent on recreational marijuana transactions, which will increase to 10 percent the second year and continue to rise by 5 percent every year until a maximum of 25 percent. No taxes will be charged for medical marijuana.
  • The five currently operating medical marijuana dispensaries will receive the first opportunity to sell recreational marijuana products.

Have you been accused of a marijuana crime? The drug is still illegal in New Jersey, and the punishments for the recreational possession and sale of the drug are considerably severe. As such, you may want to take your marijuana crimes defense seriously and carefully plan how you will navigate your criminal proceedings.

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