Medical cannabis has been legal in New Jersey since 2010. However, there are moves to expand the medical marijuana program and also decriminalize recreational pot in the state possibly by the end of this year or early next year. Industry watchers are suggesting that the legalization of recreational cannabis in New Jersey would be a game changer for the entire industry for a number of reasons.
First, the long history of cannabis prohibition in the state makes New Jersey one of the places with the largest number of people incarcerated for cannabis-related issues. New Jersey therefore has a big social wrong to address and the decriminalization of recreational cannabis could provide a template for the other states with similar issues to copy from.
This copying is likely to be similar to the way many states are copying the way California has regulated the home delivery of medical marijuana. “It has worked there, so there is no reason why it won’t work here” is a statement legislators and regulators are likely to use a lot when referring to the precedents set in New Jersey.
Secondly, New Jersey enforces some of the highest property rates in the U.S. This is likely to be factored into any legal regime designed to regulate the cannabis industry. The economic boom that could arise from the opportunities within the cannabis industry can encourage other states to borrow a leaf from New Jersey’s journey and trigger their own economic revival.
The third reason why New Jersey is likely to be a game changer for the cannabis industry is that it has the backing of the elected leaders of the community at different levels. For example, the governor, the senate president as well as the top honcho at the department of health are all eager to see cannabis legislation enacted as soon as possible.
This support for cannabis legislation is likely to produce a framework that will be a reference point for the other states which are also moving towards marijuana decriminalization.
The fourth reason is that New Jersey has a first-class healthcare system, world-class bio-tech and some of the top medical research institutions. These unique advantages mean that there will be no shortage of relevant research for product development or law reform. Consequently, New Jersey may be to the cannabis industry what Silicon Valley is to the tech industry.
The affluent population also makes it an exciting market for companies that wish to create products and test how the different market segments would respond to those innovations. Medical Cannabis Payment Solutions (OTC: REFG) and NUGL Inc. (OTC: NUGL) can only dream of what their businesses would be like if all states had the characteristics of New Jersey.
For now, the country can only wait to see what sort of regulatory framework will be instituted when the cannabis bill is debated, modified and finally passed.
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