As New Jersey voters recently passed recreational cannabis into law, a new bill is in development that will set up a regulated market. Senator Nick Scutari told Politico before the election that he was at work developing a draft for what the legislation can expect if the measure was passed.
Last month, Scutari was interested in allowing already established medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational products within weeks of the vote. “I think one of the most important things is to allow people to buy legal cannabis immediately,” Scutari said.
Unfortunately, Scutari will be unable to move forward with this plan as regulators believe the medicinal dispensaries will be unable to meet the sudden skyrocket in demand for recreational products. This trend is seen in nearly every state that legalizes—it takes up to a year before the market to finally open and, even then, most companies can’t meet initial demands. It takes some time for the hype to die down and for a state to understand how to regulate this market.
While there’s no doubt cannabis will become a huge revenue generator for New Jersey—which is especially important considering the recession we find ourselves in—it will also be able to do so much for communities within the area. Illinois may have become the prideful example in this regard—as of October, they’ve generated over $100 million in cannabis tax revenue alone. Much of this has gone to social equity programs for communities most affected by the war on drugs.
Not to mention, neighboring New York is looking to legalize cannabis as early as April of next year. Their goal is to develop standard regulations for this industry that other states can follow.
Whether this will influence New Jersey or not is too early to tell. However, we can be certain Scutari and other lawmakers are eager to get legal cannabis selling in shops as soon as possible. And while this probably won’t occur until next year, New Jersey can quicken the process by simply looking at the process other legal states have gone through.