In the News

NJ Regulation and Legislation to Watch in 2019


January 01, 2019

As seen in the article, “New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislators are poised to reach long-awaited agreements in 2019 on plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour and legalize recreational marijuana, while businesses tackle proposed rules dealing with earned sick leave and fantasy sports games and energy regulators pursue offshore wind development.”

The article later continues, “While the governor and state legislators weigh the minimum wage bill, another pending piece of legislation moving forward in the state capitol would legalize the personal use of recreational marijuana for individuals who are 21 or older, though certain components of the proposed measure still need to be ironed out.

“On Nov. 26, committees in the Senate and the Assembly each advanced a version of the marijuana legalization bill, S-2703/A-4497. The legislation would in part enable licenses for the production and sale of recreational marijuana and create the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which would be granted certain oversight powers as part of the cannabis program.

"Among the outstanding issues is the tax structure, according to Robert E. Schiappacasse of Sills Cummis & Gross PC, co-chair of the firm’s cannabis industry practice group. For example, the legislation would enable towns to collect a 2 percent tax on marijuana sales, but municipal officials have argued that 2 percent is not enough, he said.

“A number of municipalities feel that ‘a 2 percent tax benefit to the municipality, where they are absorbing a significant amount of the burden when it comes to implementation, is ... not only not fair, but not going to be acceptable,’ Schiappacasse said.

“Two other lingering issues are the development of the regulatory commission and how much power that entity will have, as well as the requirement in the legislation that certain cannabis license holders enter into a so-called ‘labor peace agreement’ with a labor organization, according to Schiappacasse.

“Schiappacasse noted that ‘the legislation does not specifically spell out what would or should be included in this type of labor peace agreement in order to be compliant with the statute.’

“A related component of the legislation provides that a cannabis license shall be suspended or revoked if certain cannabis businesses within 200 days of their opening fail to enter into or make a good faith effort to enter into a collective bargaining agreement. Whether that provision is enforceable remains uncertain, Schiappacasse said.”