Changed marijuana laws seminar from TCNJ

This is a selection of slides from a virtual seminar I attended last week. I've added some comments of my own. This topic is relevant to social work practice and is something I am studying and I thought there were some things of interest. In particular, one of the goals behind this effort was to reduce the disproportionate harm to minority communities the War on Drugs campaign has had over the past decades. A key objective was to ensure that the licenses required to sell these products went to minority-owned businesses. So far, that hasn't worked out but that story isn't over as there may be more provisions made to correct that problem.


Here are the references used in the presentation. Unfortunately, the slide's info was already small so this screenshot might not be so legible.


This is a long series of slides so this may take a while. Here's a couple of definitions that help clarify the difference between the two terms that are colloquially considered equivalent. The legal language and discussions that are attached to it have different shades of meaning. It is what it is.

There is already evidence that these rules are not being strictly adhered to by law enforcement. This is in part due to actions and statements by people who are pulled over or confronted that do not know this new information.


This is a pain in the neck but that's what it means when using these terms in the context of this legislation. Terms like hemp, pot, reefer (there's an old one), weed, etc. can be assumed to refer (sort of a joke here) to the street drug vs. regulated product.


There are limits here. Possessing 17 grams of hashish or 6 ounces of marijuana is decriminalized. Quantities over that run the risk of a person being considered for illegal distribution charges.

There is a 15% sales tax in NJ. It was chosen to be this low because it is hoped that will make it more palatable to buy cannabis in dispensaries opposed to purchasing it on the street.

Municipalities have the option of adding up to a 2% tax of their own and using that revenue as they see fit. Towns don't have to allow dispensaries from what I gathered but my notes aren't clear on this.


Expunging a criminal record is part of this legislation that may be sluggish for some reason... It isn't automatic. There's a form to fill out and the haze of bureaucracy that must be considered. You have to be aware of this option and I certainly wasn't until I saw this seminar.


I am very surprised by what you posted above to wit: "There is a 15% sales tax in NJ. It was chosen to be this low because it is hoped that will make it more palatable to buy cannabis in dispensaries opposed to purchasing it on the street."  It was my clear understanding that the public referendum we voted for (since the legislature was doing bubkus) limited the sales tax to the prevailed rate of sales tax in the state overall. That was the beauty of NJ's law when it eventually gets going as opposed to the 30 some odd percent in California etc. And yeah the higher the tax the more folks will still buy from their favorite dealer who will have to up their game but beat the regulated price due to the better quality on the legal market. At least 15% is not 30 some odd percent but I know what I read when I voted for this in November of 2020. An important election year for oh so many reasons. LOL!


Be careful, this slide has been known to cause drowsiness. Please use caution before driving or operating heavy machinery. There is not enough legislative momentum behind this for the moment. That said, political maneuvering may cause this issue to move forward. One side might not want it but knows it is publicly favored so they put forth a bill of their own so they can look good, just maybe make it happen on their own terms.


I was not expecting the approval sentiment to be this high but the survey data is real.


wendy said:

I am very surprised by what you posted above to wit: "There is a 15% sales tax in NJ. It was chosen to be this low because it is hoped that will make it more palatable to buy cannabis in dispensaries opposed to purchasing it on the street."  It was my clear understanding that the public referendum we voted for (since the legislature was doing bubkus) limited the sales tax to the prevailed rate of sales tax in the state overall. That was the beauty of NJ's law when it eventually gets going as opposed to the 30 some odd percent in California etc. And yeah the higher the tax the more folks will still buy from their favorite dealer who will have to up their game but beat the regulated price due to the better quality on the legal market. At least 15% is not 30 some odd percent but I know what I read when I voted for this in November of 2020. An important election year for oh so many reasons. LOL!

That comment is from my notes as the presenter was answering someone's question about the tax rate looking so high. More than twice the 7% for 2022 is considerable.


Yes it is. And I distinctly recall the wording of the public question. It did allow municipalities to chare an additional amount so perhaps the notes are wrong and the tax is 7% plus up to 8% for municipalities but that seems off/wrong. I'm looking for the public question now and will post it. 


Compared to the effects of alcohol use, they've found data that suggests the old joke is true to some extent.

Four guys hanging out drinking could wind up getting into a fight whereas the same four guys smoking weed are liable to form a band...

Admittedly these stats are from two states stereotyped as having folks who are amenable to the weed. But still, Denver and Washington state did see those kinds of crimes happen less often.


So the actual wording is "subject to the State sales tax". I had assumed (yes I know about ASSuMe) it would be the prevailing tax. Why the heck should it be more than vodka? After it says that then it says if authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products. 


wendy said:

Yes it is. And I distinctly recall the wording of the public question. It did allow municipalities to chare an additional amount so perhaps the notes are wrong and the tax is 7% plus up to 8% for municipalities but that seems off/wrong. I'm looking for the public question now and will post it. 

Yes, that would be good, especially since you have a better handle on that kind of detail.


I posted the relevant part above Peter. Here is the link to Pubic Question No. 1 along with the Interpretative Statement:
https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/assets/pdf/election-results/2020/2020-public-question-01-english.pdf


This is one of those sides of the issue that will be debated forever. Yes, one can absolutely wind up impaired after consuming stuff with THC in it. It depends greatly on one's tolerance to it, the type (delta-8, delta-9, delta-11), the route of intake, the expected purity, the expected potency and others. This is especially the case with marijuana not purchased from a dispensary where the regulations are along the lines of the way the FDA asserts control over drug products.


wendy said:

I posted the relevant part above Peter. Here is the link to Pubic Question No. 1 along with the Interpretative Statement:
https://www.state.nj.us/state/elections/assets/pdf/election-results/2020/2020-public-question-01-english.pdf

Yikes. Reading that now... Talk about holes being wide as the Parkway coming southbound to the 78 West exit. The process of putting it into an actual law is not something the public gets to see unless they look for it.


One of the reasons I may just start a class action if in fact you're right about the change in the sales tax is the fact that if the legislature had figured it out before November 2020 they could have made the f'ing tax whatever they wanted. But they could not agree on anything and thus thanks to the activists who said screw them let's do a public question and did what they needed to do to get that done thus we are moving at least quicker. Mind you I don't trust referendums generally (to wit the overuling of the turf stuff) but that's for a different thread or drink discussion. 


There are some important rules regarding driving with cannabis or marijuana.

Like with alcohol, one has to be over 21 to purchase it.

Using the trick of claiming to smell marijuana in the car to give a reason to make a search is now going to be a grey area, at least in practice. BUT!!!! There are open container liabilities that are more strict than with alcohol.

You can have an unopened bag of product from a dispensary with you in the car. However, ONCE IT HAS BEEN OPENED, you must put it in your trunk in order to drive without risk of getting an OUI violation. So just what the hell are you supposed to do if you have a vehicle like a CRV, Highlander or any of the other 357 different SUV models that do not have a sedan-style trunk? 

YOUR GLOVE COMPARTMENT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

IN YOUR POCKET IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.


Obviously, street product will not have the same packaging but the time it takes people to realize they can buy bags from a dispensary once and then refill them with weed or edibles they've purchased elsewhere can be measured with a stopwatch.

Disguising street product in a dispensary bag may change the way it is treated by law enforcement since it isn't likely patrol officers will have quick assay equipment on hand.

CBD products that do not have above the low limit of THC (0.3%) are legal and not under these restrictions but the same potential for disguising street product is there.

Here is some info on the legislation concerning THC limits.

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/senate-committee-urges-rethink-of-hemp-thc-limit-and-pushes-cbd-regulations/


Medical dispensaries can sell to recreational users provided they can prove they have fully met the medical needs first - whatever the hell that means. Is the language more precisely present tense or past tense? Does the quantity of cannabis needed roll over each month? How is this tracked?


People under 21 years of age cannot legally use marijuana/cannabis anywhere in the U.S. and that includes any states that have legalized adult recreational use.

Here's the citation schedule.


Research into the usage patterns hasn't shown terrible consequences.


Lots more to post but I have to take a break for now.


There is a good discussion about marijuana laws on WNYC this morning. February 24, 2022. You can probably get to listen to it if it is stored on WNYC's website. It focuses on NY but I think I heard NJ mentioned a few times.



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