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This year voters will see three questions on the ballot. The following was compiled by the League of Women Voters of Montclair. 

PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 1

Do you approve amending the constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called “cannabis”?

Only adults at least 21 years of age could use cannabis. The state commission created to oversee the state’s medical cannabis program would also oversee the new, personal-use cannabis market.

Cannabis products would be subject to the state sales tax. If authorized by the Legislature, a municipality may pass a local ordinance to charge a local tax on cannabis products.

Reasons a voter might vote “no”:

  • Some of the increased sales tax revenue may be needed to pay for the cannabis regulatory system, rather than adding to the general fund.
  • Legalization may result in increased cannabis use in communities, potentially leading to traffic accidents, cases of overuse or abuse, and unintended access by young people.
  • Technology comparable to alcohol breathalyzers does not exist.
  • The underground cannabis market will still exist — it may be cheaper to buy on the black market, which has no regulation or sales tax.
  • Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.

Reasons a voter might vote “yes”:

  • Legalization will allow economic development, create jobs and increase state sales tax revenue, and may generate local tax revenue.
  • Ending prohibition may lead to reduced costs of policing, arresting, prosecuting and punishing people for cannabis-related offenses.
  • Training law enforcement to recognize drug effects has been found effective in identifying those driving under the influence.
  • Regulation will allow for quality control and best practices, better ensuring a safer product than an unregulated market.
  • Legalizing cannabis will reduce low-level possession arrests and begin to address the harms of racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests.

PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 2

Do you approve amending the constitution to give a $250 property tax deduction to veterans who did not serve in time of war? Do you also approve amending the constitution to give a 100-percent property tax exemption to certain totally disabled veterans who did not serve in time of war?

The widow or widower of these veterans also would receive this $250 deduction or 100-percent exemption after the veteran’s death.

A “yes” vote on this question will extend the deduction to veterans and spouses of deceased veterans who did not serve in a time of conflict or peacekeeping mission. A “no” vote will leave the program as it now exists.

Reason a voter might vote “no”:

  • Extending this property tax deduction will increase expenditures from the Property Tax Relief Fund. Fiscal estimates provided by the New Jersey Office of Legislative Services state this would cost the state $13.6 million from the fund in fiscal year 2020.

Reason a voter might vote “yes”:

  • The reasons for providing the property tax relief, as recognition of service rendered to our country, should extend to veterans who served our nation regardless of the state of conflict.

PUBLIC QUESTION NO. 3

Do you approve amending the constitution to change when new legislative districts are created if the federal census data is delayed?

The current COVID-19 pandemic has delayed census data collection. If New Jersey does not receive the census data in a timely manner, new legislative districts may not be ready in time for state legislative elections in the year ending in one.

This change to the redistricting schedule would allow legislators to be elected that year from their existing districts for their two-year term in office. The new districts will be used starting with the next scheduled general election for the state legislature.

Reasons a voter might vote “no”:

  • • N.J.’s population is more racially diverse than 10 years ago. New Jersey’s Latinx and Asian populations have grown by 20 percent since 2010. Extending the current district lines for two years means that these populations will not be accurately reflected or politically represented for an additional two years.
  • • There are other solutions — change the primary election date in 2021, switch from odd- to even-year elections, or use the existing map for just one year.
  • • This change is made permanent — every time New Jersey does not receive census data by Feb. 15, existing districts remain in effect for another two years. This would limit flexibility in handling delays for future census counts not affected by a pandemic.

Reasons a voter might vote “yes”:

  • • March 1, 2022, certification of new legislative district lines gives more time for the redistricting process in determining a new legislative map.
  • • The proposed delay avoids compressing primary timelines, providing a normal time frame after new districts are certified to field and run candidates for 2023.
  • • The option prevents possible multiple one-year terms and elections, such as an election in 2021 under the old map (if census data was delayed), followed by a special election in 2022 and a regularly scheduled 2023 election.