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Phased-in marijuana tax still an option, Scutari says

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Sen. Nicholas Scutari said the state wants to ensure a reasonable tax rate for legalized, adult-use marijuana.
Sen. Nicholas Scutari said the state wants to ensure a reasonable tax rate for legalized, adult-use marijuana. - ()

The option to phase in a marijuana tax over the course of several years is not off the table, according to Sen. Nicholas Scutari.

Scutari, D-22nd District, is one of the state Legislature’s key advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana and a primary sponsor of the 120-page bill. He told NJBIZ on Thursday that he still believes New Jersey’s cannabis tax rate can be the “lowest in the country.”

Different drafts of the bill have called for a tax rate as low as 10 percent, or for the rate to be increased to 25 percent over a four-year period. Scutari said lawmakers have not agreed on a formal rate.

“We don’t want to have a high tax rate,” Scutari said. “We want to have a reasonable tax rate so that we can ensure people can buy the legal product.”

The tax debate has been a main roadblock for the bill. Gov. Phil Murphy initially wanted a 25 percent tax rate, while Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, said he favored a 10 percent rate, otherwise higher prices would drive buyers into the black market. Murphy later inferred he was open to that argument.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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