The Assembly Committee votes yes to legalization to make progress on community reinvestment but urges proponents to continue their work on justice measures
With the assembly pushing legalization
The next step is the full vote on Thursday December 17th
For immediate publication:
December 15, 2020
After a vote on a key Senate committee, the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee voted in favor of A21, a bill to implement the New Jersey constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis, which gave New Jersey a full vote from handover to governor Murphy’s desk for final approval.
The new version of A21 / S21 contains significant provisions to re-invest in the community through two streams of income dedicated to social and racial justice: 100 percent of excise tax for farmers and 70 percent of sales tax to fund reinvestment in communities that are most dated The drug war affected has disproportionately targeted black and brown communities.
The bill also severely limits the number of licenses and only 37 cultivator licenses will be issued in the first 24 months after the bill comes into force. The bill did not include several key judicial measures, such as: B. re-establishing earmarked funds for expulsion, limiting random drug testing in the workplace, and most importantly, closing a gap that allows well-resourced businesses to claim and benefit from impact zone applicant status instead of residents.
The following quote can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:
“The Assembly Committee vote will bring cannabis legalization to a full vote that can make history for its progress in community investment. Seventy percent of sales tax revenue and 100 percent of excise tax go to the communities hardest hit by the racially unequal drug war. The current bill leaves the work of lawyers unfinished and we will continue to campaign for a legalization system that addresses the injustices of the cannabis ban and builds an inclusive industry at all levels.
“We thank the members of the congregation, Annette Quijano and Jamel Holley, as well as all sponsors and lawmakers who informed about the tax distribution and prioritized the interests of the community. In order for this reinvestment to achieve its potential, the contribution of the community is paramount. We urge lawmakers and regulators to centralize these important community voices in making decisions about resources.
“We recognize the steps that have been taken to build justice into this bill, and we know the work for justice is just beginning. While the work is still ongoing, we welcome the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee to approve the bill. We will also work hard to advocate regulations and future laws that bring us closer to an inclusive, just industry and justice for color communities across the state.
“We must do everything we can to ensure that the injustices and racism that defined the ban do not simply move to legalization, and that means building an inclusive and equitable industry on purpose. New Jersey people overwhelmingly voted to legalize cannabis to address the injustices caused by the ban, and lawmakers must begin sensibly to repair the racially unequal harms of the drug war. The significant funding of community investment is one of the most important steps in this endeavor, and we will continue to push for other measures that can promote justice. “
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