Tax and Regulate

N.J.: Let’s legalize marijuana in the lame duck session!​

New Jersey legislators tabled the state's legalization bill in March, believing it lacked the votes needed to pass the Senate. But Senate President Stephen Sweeney recently gave the effort new hope when he expressed a willingness to try to pass legislation during the "lame duck" session in late 2019.

Securing the votes needed to pass the Senate will require all hands on deck — several lawmakers who are on the fence will need to come around. Please do your part. You can send your state legislators an email using our free software. Our pre-written, editable letters make it a quick and easy process.

We also encourage you to schedule a meeting with your state senator to discuss the issue in person. You can look up your state senator's phone number here. (Your state senator is your "upper chamber" member.) Let us know if you secure a meeting, and we can help prepare you.

Please also let us know if you have a special connection to the issue that could be influential. Are you a medical professional, clergy member, former or current law enforcement, or someone who was hurt by marijuana prohibition? Let us know.

And don't forget to reach out to your state senator, and to spread the word to other New Jerseyans. Together, we can end the disastrous policy of cannabis prohibition in the Garden State.

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Tax and Regulate

How the SAFE Banking Act Means Equity

The emerging cannabis industry — with $17 billion in sales this year — is currently troubled by a lack of racial diversity within its ranks. It is impossible to ignore the fact that members of the African American community and other racial minorities have paid a particularly high price in the war on cannabis. When the business community that follows legalization leaves behind people of color, there is cause for concern. 

Recently, equity in the cannabis industry has moved to the forefront of many legalization discussions around the United States. It became the most significant issue in passage of Illinois’ recent legalization bill, and equity remains central in the discussions in New Jersey and New York. It can include many facets — from additional points on license applications for minority-owned businesses to incubator programs that help businesses get off the ground.

Yet, the single biggest advancement in equity in the near term will come from an unlikely and perhaps even unremarkable source — access to regulated financial services. 

African Americans have access to far less wealth than their white counterparts. As a result, it has been difficult for black entrepreneurs to enter into the cannabis industry, which has relied on private equity to seed business opportunity. Opening banking services to the cannabis industry helps not only existing companies, but also minorities seeking access to that industry. 

For example, many of the specific equity policies that states are putting in place require banking services to be meaningful. In Illinois, the state’s new landmark law to legalize and regulate cannabis establishes a fund to provide tens of millions of dollars in grants and loans to social equity applicants. Yet it remains to be seen if the financial institutions that serve the state will be willing to provide the banking services necessary to implement that portion of the law. The SAFE Banking Act would create a “safe harbor” for banks that provide small business loans, which could help level the playing field and increase opportunities for diverse representation within the cannabis industry.

Additionally, the SAFE Banking Act would establish important reporting requirements that do not exist today. It would mandate an annual report to Congress on access to financial services for minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses and recommendations to expand access for them. It would also require the Comptroller General to study barriers to marketplace entry for minority- and women-owned cannabis businesses and report to Congress on recommendations.

Members of Congress should allow banks to provide financial services to cannabis businesses. This creates access to resources for minority and women entrepreneurs and increases the chances for success in state equity initiatives. The SAFE Act is the best next step toward establishing a more equitable cannabis industry in the U.S.


Steven Hawkins, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project

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Medical Marijuana

New Jersey: Gov. Murphy signs medical marijuana expansion

Today, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law. The bill is named after a pediatric cancer patient who passed away last year. Towards the end of Jake's fight, he relied on medical marijuana to ease the symptoms of the terrible disease. His family has since become advocates for medical marijuana reforms and helped spearhead this new law.

The new law will expand patient access to medical marijuana, by allowing more qualifying conditions and increasing the amount a patient can purchase in a month. It also creates a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission to govern the medical marijuana program. A summary of the changes can be found here.

While the legislature didn't manage to pass legalization this session, it's only matter of time. Support for changing marijuana laws is growing every day. Just last week, New Jersey state senators held a press conference calling for decriminalization and expungement reform. Together, we can bring about marijuana policy reform in New Jersey.

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Tax and Regulate

Illinois Senate votes to legalize — on to the House!​

If you live in Illinois, ask your state rep to vote yes to end cannabis prohibition in the Land of Lincoln.

The Illinois Senate just voted (38-17) to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use! Now the bill moves to the House, which could vote at any time. There's no time to waste: the legislature adjourns on Friday.

Make sure your state rep is on the right side of history. Send an email or make a phone call today!

State lawmakers really do listen to voters, and just a handful of calls and emails per district can make all the difference. The vote is expected to be close.

In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Efforts also stalled in New York and Connecticut.

Don't let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your state rep today. You could also look them up on social media and politely ask them to stand up for justice there. And don't forget to rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.

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Tax and Regulate

Illinois: Make sure your legislators vote “yes” on legalization

If you live in Illinois, ask your lawmakers to end prohibition in the Land of Lincoln.

With only three days left until the legislature adjourns, the Illinois House and Senate could vote on legalizing marijuana any day. This would be the first time ever that a state legislature (as opposed to voters) legalized adult-use marijuana sales.

Make sure your legislators are on the right side of history. Write them today!

State lawmakers really do listen to voters, and just a handful of calls and emails per district can make all the difference. The vote is expected to be close.

Not only would Senate Bill 7 legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, it would create the best legalization law so far in terms of addressing the harms inflicted by cannabis prohibition. Senate Bill 7:

  • Includes robust expungement provisions to stop derailing dreams of those with past cannabis convictions;
  • Directs a significant amount of the tax revenue to communities that have been hard-hit by the drug war; and
  • Includes groundbreaking measures to ensure an inclusive, equitable industry. Equity applicants — those directly harmed by cannabis prohibition or from communities most harmed by it — will pay lower fees, be eligible for low-interest loans, and will get points on their applications.

Although the votes weren’t there to allow home cultivation for all adults, the bill also includes home cultivation for medical cannabis patients. Patients would also be exempt from all adult-use taxes.

In New Jersey, hopes of legalizing marijuana in 2018 or 2019 were dashed when the vote count came up a few votes shy. Don’t let this chance to end prohibition in Illinois slip away: Write your lawmakers today. Then, rally your friends to do the same: Share this on social media or by email.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey legalization bill put on hold

If you live in New Jersey, ask your lawmakers if they support the legalization bill.

Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy and leaders in the legislature decided not to hold a vote on their marijuana legalization bill. It was determined that they did not have enough votes to pass the bill, and they chose to table the bill until they do.

While this is a disappointing setback, let's make sure it is only a temporary one. As Gov. Murphy said, "Justice may be delayed, but justice will not be denied."

Please take a second to email your lawmakers to ask them if they support the legalization bill.

If they don't support the bill, please consider reaching out further and asking for a meeting. If lawmakers don't hear from their constituents, they won't change their minds. If you are interested in setting up a meeting with your lawmaker, please email me at dboyer@mpp.org, and I can help facilitate that and arm you with the best resources in support of ending marijuana prohibition.

So please, email your lawmakers and then spread the word by forwarding this email to friends and family members.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey: Legalization vote expected Monday; call your senator today!

Mar 22, 2019 Kate Zawidzki

legalization, New Jersey, NJ, Tax and Regulate, vote

If you live in New Jersey, click here to reach out to your senator right now.

As you may have heard, the marijuana legalization bill passed out of committee and now heads to a floor vote, which is expected this Monday.

Time is short, so please call your senator now.

We are hearing that the vote will be very close, and there is no guarantee that it will pass. By reaching out to your senator, you are helping pass marijuana legalization, and we can't do it without you.

Click here to call your lawmaker today.

Please help end marijuana prohibition and connect with your lawmaker today. Then, forward this email to your friends and family so they can take action, too. Together, we can make marijuana legal in New Jersey.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey is close to legalizing marijuana and you can help

If you live in New Jersey, click here to email your lawmakers today.

As you may have heard, Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced they have finally come to an agreement regarding the details of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. If leaders in the legislature believe they have the votes to pass the bill, they plan to hold a vote on March 25.

Click here to email your lawmakers in support of making marijuana legal.

The votes aren't there yet for the bill to pass. It's time to change that: Lawmakers need to hear from constituents who support replacing marijuana prohibition with sensible regulation.

The legalization bill would:

  • Allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana;
  • Set up a process for expungement for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses;
  • Establish a $42 tax per ounce on sales from cultivators; and
  • Incentivize towns to allow marijuana businesses through local taxes.

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees this Monday, March 18, where they will also hear bills on medical marijuana expansion.

Please email your elected officials to let them know you support ending marijuana prohibition. Then, forward this email to your friends and family. Together we can bring sensible marijuana laws to New Jersey.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey so close to legalizing marijuana

If you live in New Jersey, contact your lawmakers today and tell them to support legalization!

As you know, the New Jersey Legislature has been grappling with how to best tax, regulate, and legalize marijuana for adults. Until recently, Governor Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney were at a public impasse on a few key details of the bill. Recently, the two have come to a compromise to pass legalization this year. But they don't yet have the needed votes.

That's where you come in.

Please contact your lawmakers now and ask that they support the legalization compromise and end marijuana prohibition.

New Jersey is poised to be the first state in the nation to fully legalize marijuana (including regulated sales) through the legislative process. Please help make history by contacting your lawmakers today. Together, we can bring common sense marijuana policy reform to the Garden State.

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Tax and Regulate

New Jersey: No marijuana legalization vote for Christmas

Ask the governor and Senate president to compromise on the details and bring legalization up for a vote!

As you may have heard, the New Jersey Legislature will not be voting on marijuana legalization before the year’s end. While there is political will to pass legalization in New Jersey, lawmakers couldn’t agree on the details — including a tax rate — this year.

If you're a New Jersey residernt, please call Gov. Phil Murphy at 609-292-6000 and Senate President Stephen Sweeney at 856-251-9801 and ask that they come to a compromise and bring legalization up for a vote early next year. Marijuana prohibition has cost New Jersey millions of dollars and ruined thousands of lives. It’s time for it to end.

In better news, New Jersey regulators recently doubled the number of medical marijuana dispensaries (“ATCs”) from six to a total of 12. Patients will soon have more access to purchase the medicine that they need.

But it’s important that New Jersey legalizes marijuana to further improve access to this life-saving plant. New Jersey’s medical cannabis law remains among the most restrictive in the nation, and it leaves behind most pain patients. Please, reach out to the governor and Senate president and ask that they work out the details to swiftly end marijuana prohibition. Then, spread the word to others in New Jersey who can raise their voices for humane marijuana policies.

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