One township in New Jersey is not waiting to see how marijuana legalization fares for the state. An item on the Freehold Township agenda for its Oct. 4 meeting focuses on businesses and establishments that sell marijuana or marijuana-related products. The measure is a potential ban on all of these endeavours within the township limits.
The measure is all-encompassing with mention of both medical and recreational use of marijuana and paraphernalia related to the use.
The township is not the first to make this move. It joins numerous other towns in the state, including Toms River, Hazlet Palisades Park, and Point Pleasant. These towns have banned the sale of marijuana within their boundaries, despite the fact that legislators continue to work on a bill for the state that will legalize recreational use of marijuana.
The legislation for recreational marijuana use for the state is set to reach the State Senate by the end of October. This is a bit later than original estimates, which put the legislation up for vote by the end of September. However, the bill has two sticking points left for legislators, which is holding up the process of finalizing and voting.
The tax rate has been one of the recognized issues holding up the bill’s progress. Some legislators are pushing for the lowest rate possible at 10%, while others are hoping to initiate a higher tax rate right from the start.
For those proponents of the lower tax rate, the argument is that it can be increased as time goes on. However, those who prefer a higher initial tax maintain that the higher initial rate is the way to go.
While it’s unknown if this is an issue with New Jersey legislation, another main sticking point when considering the legalization of marijuana is whether or not to wipe criminal records for those who have been charged with possession in the past. This aspect of the law has ended differently depending on the state and the legislative support for different areas.
Some legislators maintain that wiping criminal records for marijuana charges will decrease some strain on prisons and legal systems, while others feel the time and effort would be more expensive than helpful.