This week New Jersey became the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize marijuana.
On Tuesday voters in the state approved New Jersey Public Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Amendment (2020), which legalizes the recreational use of non-hemp cannabis for persons age 21 and over. It also permits possession, cultivation and sales of retail non-hemp cannabis.
The constitutional amendment is set to take effect on Jan. 21, 2021.
“New Jersey becomes a critical state in that Mid-Atlantic, Northeast corridor,” said Steven Hawkins, executive director of Marijuana Policy Project. “It’s a large population state, yes, but I think it’s the key to what happens in the rest of those states in the coming year.
“There has been a slow start in that section of the country. But with New Jersey passing this ballot initiative, I think that will change.”
According to Patrik Jonsson, regional president of the Northeast for Curaleaf Holdings (CURLF) , said the transition to adult-use in New Jersey will take some time as regulators look to implement appropriate regulations, testing and consumer safety standards.
Patricia Baldwin Gregory, general counsel of Pennsylvania medical marijuana company Keystone Canna Remedies concurs and remarked, “If New Jersey votes in favor of adult-use cannabis, then the pressure will be on Pennsylvania, New York, and even Connecticut to also legalize adult use. Otherwise, they will lose significant tax revenues to New Jersey as customers cross state lines to purchase cannabis.”
Baldwin Gregory expects to see Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut pass adult-use legislation by 2022.
New Jersey could see an estimated $300 million in marijuana tax revenues, according to a report prepared by New Jersey Policy Perspective. That is if the plant is taxed at 25 percent.
“For the economy — for the revenue side of this — Jersey needs to start getting in this game and start bringing some much needed revenue in this state without Draconian cuts and without increasing new taxes on the populous,” said Lobbyist Bill Caruso.