Following $11.9 million in tax revenue collections since the first marijuana sale in April, the State of New Jersey is now asking the public where to spend $200 000 of social equity fees. According to news reports, the committee is currently calculating the social equity fee revenue for the quarter. Between April and June, $80 million was received in sales, and $4.35 million was accounted for tax. Of this, $200,000 has been set aside as social equity fees.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission recently hosted the second round of public hearings, which saw the panel focus on how to invest the social equity fees raised from legal marijuana sales. The public feedback, advocate recommendations, and panel discussions will be compiled into a report. This report will then be given to the governor and legislature, who will then recommend specific investments to the commission.
Seven Months Since Launching, 20 Dispensaries And Two Public Hearings
The legal marijuana industry launched in the State of New Jersey seven months ago, and since then, 20 dispensaries have opened up, and two public hearings have been held. From the get-go, the State has added $1.10 per ounce to all cannabis sold.
Last year, the social equity fee was determined by medical sales. In 2022, officials included the sales of recreational marijuana, which costs more, and because of this, the fee rose to $1.52 per ounce in January.
Commission Seeks To Spend Money On The Following Recommendations
The law dictates that at least 70 percent of tax revenue is to be invested in impact zones and high-poverty areas ravaged by the war on drugs.
So far, advocates have suggested that the money goes towards the purchase of baby bonds for low-income newborns, the funding of black maternal health care centers which support reentry services for individuals leaving prison, as well as creating a fund to support individuals harmed and negativity affected by the war on drugs.
Other suggestions for investing the social equity fees include a technical assistance program to help aspiring entrepreneurs and housing and support for existing services. More recommendations included investing revenue into programs focused on mental health among the youth and violence education.
The commission was also recommended to put some of the social equity fees towards housing for those recently out of prison. According to news reports, other suggestions included a guaranteed income for New Jersey’s impact zone, which sees disproportionate poverty among struggling black and brown residents.
While Not The Norm, It Is Hoped To Become One
While incorporating public opinion into these panels is not the norm, it is hoped that this will see the funds rightfully reinvested in the way they should be and hopefully reinvested with maximum impact.
Should maximum impact be achieved, incorporating public contributions into society equity fees, discussions should become the norm. On a broader scope, it is hoped that the hearing panel will do the same and ask the public with regards to the overall revenue contributions as well, not only social equity.
The next meeting will be held on December 2, 2022, and the public is encouraged to comment in person or, alternatively, submit written testimony.
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