Looking across the water at the Newark, New Jersey shoreline.

William Warby

New Jersey state Sen. Nicholas Scutari has introduced legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use in the state. The measure would allow adults 21-and-older to purchase cannabis products in a taxed-and-regulated market.

The move comes on the first day of the state’s legislative session, which will mark the first term of incoming Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy who campaigned on the legalization issue. The proposal would allow adults to possess up to 1 ounce of flower, 16 ounces of cannabis-infused products in solid form, 72 ounces in liquid form and 7 grams of concentrates. Neither public-use nor home cultivation is permitted under the law.

The legislation includes a tax scale that increases over time. The year one rate would be set at 7 percent, followed by rates that climb annually of: 10 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent, and 25 percent.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Scutari said that the recent federal policy changes are not going to prevent New Jersey lawmakers from moving forward with the reforms.

“We’re still going to move forward. I think it’s going to be difficult for the federal government, especially without local law enforcement, to close it down.” – Scutari, to the AP

The measure has been sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Scutari is the chair.

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