New Jersey voters will vote next year on whether to legalize recreational cannabis. The recreational use question was added to the November 2020 ballot on Monday by New Jersey lawmakers. If approved, the ballot question would amend the state constitution to legalize recreational cannabis for those twenty-one and older. Recreational cannabis would be subject to the state’s sales tax of 6.625%. Additionally, municipalities would be permitted to pass ordinances imposing local taxes on recreational cannabis.
The State legislature decided to pass the question on to voters after two failed attempts this year to legalize recreational cannabis in the legislature. In March, the recreational use bill introduced by Democratic lawmakers was postponed after failing to receive sufficient backing in the upper chamber of the state legislature. In November, the bill again stalled due to lack of support.
Legalizing recreational cannabis became a priority of Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey after the election of Governor Phil Murphy in 2018. When Governor Murphy came into office, he promised to legalize recreational cannabis within his first one hundred days in office. While that deadline has passed, Governor Murphy is hopeful about the ballot measure, stating he has “faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November.” Governor Murphy’s optimism is consistent with recent polling that shows 60% of New Jersey voters favor legalizing recreational cannabis. If voters approve the ballot measure, New Jersey would be the twelfth state to legalize recreational cannabis.