New Jersey Will Vote on Recreational Marijuana in 2020

A supermajority of New Jersey lawmakers moved to place a recreational marijuana measure on the Nov. 2020 election ballot.

New Jersey voters will have a chance to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020. On Monday, state lawmakers approved placing a cannabis measure on the Nov. 2020 ballot which, if approved, will legalize recreational use for residents 21 years of age and older.

The referendum comes after a failed legislative attempt to legalize recreational use earlier this year.

“Since the state legislature has been deferring on their responsibility to pass a comprehensive legalization bill, it seems that it will be up to New Jersey voters to demand a new marijuana policy that respects personal freedoms and protects civil liberties,” said NORML Executive Director and New Jersey native Erik Altieri, in response to the approval.

“There will be a robust and passionate grassroots campaign to ensure voters are informed and turn out en masse to approve this proposed amendment, the message from voters on Election Day 2020 will be clear and unambiguous: prohibition in the Garden State has been an utter failure and the citizens of the state demand a move to full legalization.”

State residents will vote to make a state constitutional amendment in the Nov. 2020 election by answering “yes” or “no” to the following ballot question:

“Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called ‘cannabis’? Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The State commission created to oversee the State’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal use cannabis market. Cannabis products would be subject to the State sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.”

If approved the Senate resolution SCR183 would go into effect the following January (2021). At that time, anyone 21 years of age or older would be able to consume cannabis.

The new law would also establish a regulatory commission would manage cannabis sales, with purchases subject to a state sales tax. Municipals would be able to set their own individual tax rates, not to exceed 2%.

Support for Marijuana in New Jersey

In the New Jersey Senate, the resolution passed 24-16, the exact number of votes needed to constitute a three-fifths super-majority. The New Jersey Assembly voted 49-23 with one abstention. The measure still requires a signature from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

Murphy was elected on a platform of marijuana legalization. One of his stated key law and justice initiatives is to “end mass incarceration by pursuing the legalization of marijuana and comprehensively reviewing all criminal sentencing laws.”

Recent polls have shown that 60 percent of New Jersey voters support legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Marijuana legalization has been in the works for many years in New Jersey with several close attempts.

If voters approve the ballot measure in 2020, New Jersey will join 11 states, plus the District of Columbia, in legalizing recreational marijuana. In 2010, New Jersey lawmakers legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes with the passage of Senate Bill 119.

Find out more about which states have legal access to cannabis by visiting our Where Is Marijuana Legal? page.

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