Business Report: Marijuana regulations, pot decriminalization, restaurant restrictions

Marijuana legislation and unemployment aid in the works

The work continues next week on trying to get New Jersey’s marijuana industry off the ground. Legislation on taxing and regulating the new industry was supposed to be considered again by the Legislature Thursday, but that was put on hold as lawmakers continue to review testimony on the bill. Even before the regulations are in place, investors are eagerly eyeing the state for opportunities.

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee has approved a decriminalization bill that would legalize possession of up to 6 ounces of marijuana, and would make distribution of 1 ounce a civil penalty. The bill was amended to downgrade penalties for possessing up to an ounce of psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms.

That same committee approved a bill to help unemployed workers. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), would allow more residents to become eligible for the extension of unemployment benefits for another 20 weeks. This comes at an important time, as some workers laid off in March due to the pandemic will exhaust their benefits next month.

If you’re planning a night out this weekend, it’s time to embrace the early bird specials at your local restaurant. Gov. Phil Murphy recently ordered that bars and restaurants must close indoor service at 10 p.m. each night. Outdoor dining and takeout can continue past that time.