Today the State Legislature did not act on A4497/S2703,
which would legalize adult use of recreational cannabis. The
measure did not have the needed 21 votes to pass in the State Senate.
Through this long process, the League, while not taking a
position on the issue of legalization itself, championed measures to facilitate
municipal implementation of legalization, if it were to become a reality. The League pointed out the inadequacy of the
initial local tax structure, advocated for strong home rule and planning
protections in the Legislation and worked closely with the New Jersey Urban
Mayors Association and Conference of Mayors to assure that the bill adequately
addressed expungement and restorative justice.
This delay does offer local officials a fresh chance to review the current proposal to assess what their local course of action will be, if legalization becomes a reality. We do anticipate that the bill will be brought back again, but we cannot say with any certainty when. For an overview of the Legislation in its current form, please see the League’s Urgent
alert from Friday, March 22.
Our thanks to our many colleagues and partners including the
Urban Mayors Association, the Conference of Mayors and the countless local
officials, elected and appointed, who were part of the League’s Task Force on
this issue, who charted our course as we analyzed various
proposals. Our efforts championing a local tax option to adequately
offset costs, safeguarding local planning and assuring social justice are
essential for this legislation to advance. The League will continue its
advocacy for local governments in New Jersey, providing elected officials with
the necessary resources to chart our actions going forward in the weeks, months
and years ahead.