New Jersey marijuana legalization could rake in $60 million in taxes.
Governor Phil Murphy looked to four states with legalized recreational marijuana as a guide for calculating the
$60 million in new tax money legalization could bring into New Jersey.
Treasury officials say they examined revenues for the first year of legalized recreational cannabis from Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington and considered those states’ populations as compared to New Jersey’s and arrived at the $60 million figure.
Murphy hopes New Jersey joins the nine states and the District of Columbia in approving recreational pot, fulfilling a campaign promise and reversing the resolutely anti-drug policies of his Republican predecessor, Chris Christie.
Murphy’s budget proposal, which the democratic former Goldman Sachs executive unveiled, calls for legalized cannabis by January 2018, but lawmakers are taking a cautious approach.
Bill Caruso, an attorney and a former democratic legislative aid, is on the steering committee of New Jersey United for Marijuana, which supports legalization. He said he views the governor’s estimate as a sign that legalization is a priority and moving forward despite the slow pace.
“ I think we’re marching toward an inevitability,” he said.
Murphy has said he backs legalization on “social justice” grounds, specifically over concerns that poor people of color suffer disproportionately from cannabis being illegal.
But he is also relying on the revenue to help fund other promises, such as higher pension payments and school aid.
Lawmakers and Murphy have until June 30, 2018 to enact a balanced budget.
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