Marijuana legalization would force tough choice for N.J. towns

TRENTON — Now that a invoice to legalize leisure marijuana in New Jersey is more likely to grow to be regulation, leaders within the state’s 565 municipalities might quickly face a selection.

Do they permit companies to supply and promote hashish of their cities, probably reaping the advantages of a brand new business and hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax income?

Or do they prohibit pot gross sales, lacking out on the cash however probably avoiding a number of the collateral issues which will include the sale of leisure marijuana?

The invoice, launched by New Jersey Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Linden, would legalize the possession and private use of small quantities of leisure marijuana throughout the state. The invoice permits particular person cities to determine if they may permit pot gross sales, however says the cities that do not will not obtain their share of the estimated $300 million in annual tax income marijuana is predicted to generate.

With Phil Murphy now the governor-elect of New Jersey, cities might face these selections within the coming months. Murphy has stated he’d signal the invoice inside his first one hundred days in workplace.

As N.J. municipalities begin to mull the professionals and cons of pot gross sales, they will take a look at cities in different states which have already made the transfer.

Colorado was the primary state to permit leisure pot gross sales inside its borders and, together with the income, the state has confronted a number of points, some anticipated, some not.  

Of Colorado’s 272 municipalities, 176 do not permit marijuana gross sales, in accordance with the Colorado Municipal League. Colorado has had leisure marijuana since 2014.

Fort Morgan is among the many Colorado cities that doesn’t permit marijuana gross sales. Whereas residents who’re at the least 21 years previous are free to own and use marijuana — per state regulation — they can not purchase it in Fort Morgan.

The city positioned a moratorium on marijuana manufacturing and gross sales, based mostly on suggestions from the group.

“They actually, actually needed to maintain it out of Fort Morgan,” stated Mayor Ron Shaver. “They felt the issues it might deliver would outweigh the income.”

Shaver says residents might have been proper. Although Fort Morgan does not permit pot gross sales, a neighboring city does. Shaver stated since marijuana turned authorized in 2014, Fort Morgan has seen a rise in pot possession by center faculty and highschool college students, which the mayor says is probably going as a result of it is bought within the subsequent city.

Kevin Bommer, deputy director of the Colorado Municipal League, stated cities within the state have incurred numerous unexpected enforcement bills, together with making an attempt to stop individuals from collaborating in what he calls the “gray market,” during which individuals develop extra marijuana than allowed and promote it in surrounding states.

“I do not assume it is an the whole lot-has-gone-to-hell sort of state of affairs,” Bommer stated. “Nevertheless it’s not simply income, it is on the enforcement.”

Bommer stated because it’s now authorized to develop a small variety of marijuana crops in Colorado, it is onerous for police to watch individuals who could also be rising greater than allowed. He additionally…

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