New Jersey lawmakers have reached a deal on legislation to implement an adult-use cannabis program in the state, according to an NJ.com report.
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) introduced a bill just days after voters approved adult-use legalization on Election Day, but lawmakers have since debated the legislation’s social equity provisions, which have been criticized by social justice advocates.
The compromise bill, which lawmakers agreed on Dec. 4, allows the state to issue 37 cannabis cultivation licenses during the first two years of adult-use sales, NJ.com reported, but this limit does not apply to microlicenses, which will be issued to businesses with 10 employees or less.
The legislation also directs 70% of cannabis sales tax revenue, as well as all of the revenue raised by a tax on cultivators, to fund programs for legal aid, health care and mentoring in minority communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs, according to NJ.com.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to take up the bill on Dec. 14, the news outlet reported, and the legislation will go before the full Senate for a vote on Dec. 17.
Lawmakers have also reached a deal on a cannabis decriminalization bill, which is expected to advance later this month, according to NJ.com. The decriminalization legislation stalled in the New Jersey Assembly last month after the Senate approved the bill with an amendment that would lessen the penalty for the possession of up to one ounce of psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms.
The Assembly has since introduced a separate bill to address psilocybin offenses, NJ.com reported, and that legislation will go before the Assembly Judiciary Committee for its first hearing Dec. 7.