New Jersey lawmakers advance bill legalizing recreational marijuana

TRENTON, N.J. (AP/WTXF) - A proposal to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older advanced in the New Jersey Legislature Monday.

The measures will now go to the full chambers for a vote. Gov. Phil Murphy has expressed strong support for legalizing and regulating marijuana for adult use.

The legislation legalizes an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 and over, sets up a five-person cannabis commission and taxes cannabis at 12 percent.

That includes the 6.625 percent sales tax. The draft also allows towns and cities to apply for up to a 2 percent tax on cannabis.

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Lawmakers dropped an earlier proposal to phase in a higher rate over five years from 7 percent to 25 percent.

The legislation also calls for expediting expungements for people with marijuana-related criminal backgrounds.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy supports legalization. His office didn't respond when the new legislation was unveiled Wednesday.