Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senators Sandra Cunningham, Nick Scutari and M. Teresa Ruiz, today issued the following joint statement announcing the introduction of a proposed constitutional amendment, SCR-138, dedicating state cannabis revenue and fees to programs to help “Impact Zones,” those communities that suffered the most from the failed drug laws:
“Based on the testimony we heard in the Legislature, it is clear that we need to do more to ensure that revenues from the legalization of adult-use cannabis are used primarily to remedy the devastating and disproportionate impact of the ‘War on Drugs’ on predominantly Black and Brown communities in our state.
“Therefore, we introduced legislation to put a constitutional amendment on next November’s ballot dedicating the majority of the state revenue from adult-use cannabis to support programs in Impact Zones – those cities that ranked disproportionately high in marijuana-related arrests and low in median income.
“It would also dedicate funding to law enforcement agencies to train officers as Drug Recognition Experts or provide needed equipment. This will provide direct support to state, county and municipal agencies in maintaining public safety.
“The constitutional amendment would apply to all state taxes and the Social Equity Excise Fees collected from the sale or cultivation of adult-use recreational marijuana, allocating 70 percent of sales tax revenue and 100 percent of excise fees to social justice reforms in the targeted communities.
“The remaining 30 percent would be divided up to support the work of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, of law enforcement personnel trained as Drug Recognition Experts, and other restorative justice programs in Impact Zones. The optional two percent sales tax raised by municipalities choosing to allow adult-use marijuana businesses within their borders would be used at the local level.”
Sponsored by Senators Sweeney, Cunningham, Ruiz and Scutari, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Senators Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Dawn Addiego and Troy Singleton.