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NJ moves forward with marijuana legalization legislation

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey legislators advanced a measure to legalize recreational cannabis.

A joint Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committee on Monday voted to send the legislation for a floor vote after more than four hours of debate in a standing-room-only crowd.

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.

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.