The laws surrounding marijuana have been changing so quickly lately around the country. It’s almost impossible to believe that some areas are allowing for recreational use of marijuana. Especially, considering that the federal laws are still the same. New Jersey is just one of the states that are making changes. However, there are some that don’t support the legalization of marijuana in NJ with the way the current bill is written.
Why Won’t Some NJ Cities Support the Legalization of Marijuana in NJ?
It may be a little surprising, but the reason behind why some NJ cities are not supporting the legalization of marijuana in NJ is not because they dislike the drug itself. In fact, these outspoken mayors are more concerned about other parts of the bill.
The first concern that these mayors have with the legalization of marijuana in NJ is handling the hypocrisy of allowing for recreational marijuana when others are currently serving time for doing the same before this bill. In addition, they believe that these crimes should be expunged from their record.
Following prohibition, bootleggers that provided alcohol to those who wanted it when it was illegal were given a chance to become legal producers and distributors of it. That currently wouldn’t be the case with individuals that have been convicted of prior crimes involving marijuana. The mayors that signed this letter to lawmakers feel that this is wrong. They would like those that have been convicted of marijuana crimes to have a chance to open their own legal marijuana business.
One of the last reasons they have for not supporting the current bill for the legalization of marijuana in NJ is the way the revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana will be dispersed. In the current bill, only one percent of the money made from this tax revenue would go back to the host city. That isn’t enough in the mayors’ estimation.
What Are Their Proposed Changes to the Bill?
There are a few proposed changes that these mayors want to see so that they can also support the legalization of marijuana in NJ. The first change is with those that have a conviction or are serving a sentence over marijuana. They believe that these citizens should have a chance to have their lives restored to them for marijuana offenses.
The second change they want is that those who have prior marijuana-related convictions should not have those particular convictions held against them. They should be able to take part in this business opportunity. They should have an equal chance as someone with no prior marijuana convictions.
Another change is financial. The mayors want to up the percentage of the revenue that host cities receive with the legalization of marijuana in NJ. The current amount is one percent, and they would like it raised to five. They believe that this money should go towards helping the community. The war on drugs has had a damaging effect on many communities, and addiction is a real problem. The legal cannabis industry can help to turn that around. This additional money would be for job training and education. In addition, it can create programs that help those that are no longer in prison to become productive citizens.
They also want more autonomy. The final change these mayors want to see with the legalization of marijuana in NJ is local control. They want to be able to determine how many licenses are given out to businesses. The mayors also want to be able to control where these marijuana businesses open. They feel their insight would be beneficial in helping their municipalities through this change.
Are Lawmakers Considering the Proposed Changes?
There are no current statements from lawmakers contemplating this letter from local mayors. However, it would be difficult for the state to be able to implement this process without the support of the local governments. It will be interesting to see what the final bill contains once it does go to vote later this month.
What Does This Mean For You?
If you have a conviction for a crime involving marijuana on your record, these potential changes could impact your future positively. It may be helpful to discuss your options once it has passed with an experienced legal professional. They can help you to understand the implications any changes to this bill could have on your situation.
The legalization of marijuana in NJ should be an interesting process. Especially considering that not all parties are in complete agreement about the different factors that come into play. The mayors of some of these NJ cities aren’t sure about the bill that is currently on the table. They are looking to make it more fair and equitable for their constituents.
Do you need legal advice on charges involving marijuana or how these changes can impact you? The Law Office of Douglas Herring is here to help advise you. Contact us today to discuss your questions and concerns about the upcoming legalization of marijuana in NJ.