New Jersey politicians could include a “social equity” tax in a bill aimed at creating a legal market for “recreational” marijuana.
FOX 5 reports:
Bills in the state Senate and Assembly would give cannabis regulators the authority to impose the “social equity excise fee,” which would help fund programs aimed at reducing racial disparities caused by drug laws. The influential Legislative Black Caucus has lobbied for programs aimed at helping Black communities, which have been hard-hit by marijuana prohibition. Black residents are likelier to be arrested on marijuana charges than white residents, for example. Senate President Steve Sweeney said a bill would dedicate money raised by marijuana taxes to social equity programs aimed at helping Black communities in particular.
The report comes after New Jersey residents voted to approve recreational marijuana use in the state. New Jersey’s constitution will be amended to allow adults to purchase and use marijuana without a medical purpose.
Adults of 21-years-old and older will be allowed to buy marijuana, which will have a 6.625 percent sales tax. Cities will be allowed to collect taxes of 2 percent on sales of the drug.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) was among leading state Democrats to favor the measure on marijuana.
“I’m highly confident that today we will achieve a great milestone, and it is overwhelmingly a step toward, at long last, social justice,” Murphy said ahead of the vote.
“When I came into office, the widest white/non-white gap of persons incarcerated in America and the overwhelming reason was low-end drug crimes. And please, God, we will finally wrestle this to the ground,” he added.