WEED Coming To New Jersey

N.J.'s move to legalize marijuana has begun. Here's all you need to know about it.

Although a topic in Trenton for three years, the campaign to legalize marijuana in New Jersey officially began in June when a Senate committee discussed how the potentially billion-dollar industry should be regulated.

So what will it take for you to be able to legally buy recreational pot in New Jersey?

Gov. Chris Christie is vehemently opposed to legalizing marijuana and he has six months left on his final term. And the election for governor will matter for supporters of legalizing pot: Democratic candidate Phil Murphy supports legalization but Republican candidate Kim Guadagno does not.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), the bill's sponsor, said he wants to begin the discussion now to build support among his colleagues in the legislature and across the state.

“Now is the time to begin shaping New Jersey’s recreational marijuana program," Scutari said. "We will have a new governor next year and we should be prepared to move forward with a program that ends the prohibition on marijuana and that treats our residents fairly and humanely."

Here's what you need to know about the road to legal pot in New Jersey.

Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), is the prime sponsor of the bill that would legalize marijuana possession and sale by adults 21 and older. (Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

Here's what the legal pot bill would do

Scutari's bill, (S3195) based on visits to Colorado's thriving recreational program would:

  • Decriminalize marijuana possession of up to 50 grams "immediately" and allow people who have been arrested for pot possession to expunge their records;

  • Establish a Division of Marijuana Enforcement in the state Attorney General's Office which would create the rules used to govern the legal market of growers and sellers;

  • Allow people to possess up to one ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of edible products infused with cannabis, 72 ounces in liquid form and seven grams of marijuana "concentrate;

  • Impose a sales tax on recreational sales beginning at 7 percent in the first year, climbing to 10 percent in the second year and jumping five percent more each year until it reaches 25 percent. Taxes on medical marijuana would be abolished.

  • Give the five existing medical marijuana dispensary nonprofit groups first crack at selling recreational pot.

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