New Jersey appears poised to legalize recreational marijuana

(The Center Square) – New Jersey voters on Tuesday appeared poised to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

With about 58 percent of precincts reporting, roughly two-thirds of voters cast ballots in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment, according to numbers from Politico.

Under the question, only adults 21 years old or older can use cannabis. A state commission that oversees New Jersey’s medical cannabis program would manage the personal use cannabis market.

The amendment would take effect Jan. 1. The state’s 6.625 percent sales tax would apply to sales, and local jurisdictions could add another 2 percent sales tax.

Gov. Phil Murphy told HOT 97 in New York that passing the measure would reduce the backlog in the state’s criminal justice system, but lawmakers still need to pass legislation regulating the marketplace, The New York Post reported.

“I’m highly confident that today we will achieve a great milestone, and it is overwhelmingly a step toward, at long last, social justice,” the newspaper quoted Murphy as telling the station.

Voters appeared poised to approve two other questions on the ballot this year in New Jersey.

In a second question, roughly three-fourths of voters cast ballots in favor of an amendment “to give a $250 property tax deduction to veterans who did not serve in time of war.” The amendment would also provide a 100 percent property tax exemption to some “totally disabled veterans who did not serve in time of war.”

A veteran’s widow or widower would receive the deductions or exemptions.

A third question, however, was closer. About 60 percent of ballots were in favor of an amendment to change the process around creating new legislative districts if federal census data is delayed.

Without the information, new state legislative districts may not be ready for the 2021 election and subsequent elections following a census. This change would allow legislators to be elected from their existing districts for their two-year term in office, and the new districts would go into effect starting with the next scheduled general election for the state Legislature.

Unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden cruised to victory over President Donald Trump in the Garden State. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, is also headed to reelection, defeating a challenge from Republican Rikin Mehta and several independent or third-party candidates.

New Jersey can count ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 10.

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