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Governor, legislature have deal of legal weed

Murphy gets legislative leaders to agree at 4 PM on Friday

By David Wildstein, December 04 2020 5:26 pm

Legislative leaders and Gov. Phil Murphy have a deal on the legalization of marijuana, capping the number of cultivators at 37 for the first 24 months, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Murphy, who has made the legalization of recreational marijuana one of his top priorities as governor, was able to score an agreement with Senate and Assembly Democrats at 4 PM on a Friday.

The deal was made with Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden).

70% of the sales tax will be dedicated to social justice programs, and 100% of the social equity fund will be used on social equity programs.

Microbusinesses are not included in the cap.

Two separate bills on decriminalization and downgrading the criminal penalties on psilocybin mushrooms, known as “magic mushrooms” will move at the same time, the NJ Globe has learned.

New Jersey voters passed a referendum to permit adult use, recreation marijuana by a 2-1 margin in last month’s election.

“We’re proud to announce today that we’ve reached an agreement on legislation providing the framework for legalization, which is a critical step in reducing racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system,” Murphy, Sweeney, Coughlin, Scutari and Assembly Majority Conference Chair Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) said in a joint statement.  “This legislation will accomplish our shared goals of delivering restorative justice and ensuring that the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs see the economic benefits of the adult-use cannabis market. While there is still much work ahead, we are one step closer to building a new, promising industry for our state.”

This story was updated at 6:22 PM with comment from the governor and legislative leaders. 

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