TRENTON — New Jersey is ever closer to legalizing recreational marijuana after Gov. Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders on Friday reached a tentative deal, report said.

NJ.com reported that the top Democrats, who have long been split on the way to legalize cannabis, agreed that marijuana would be taxed by the ounce rather than on sales price.

Politico New Jersey, citing three sourced with knowledge of the discussions, said the proposed tax would be $42 an ounce.

NJ.com also reported that the marijuana bill would include a provision to expunge criminal records of people who have been convicted of marijuana offenses in the past.

Marijuana legalization was a signature issue of Murphy's campaign last November. In anticipation of legalization, several municipalities already have banned the sale of the drug in their communities.

Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — plus Washington, D.C. Other states have either decriminalized certain amounts of marijuana, meaning people can still face civil penalties for possession, or allowed medical marijuana. Just 15 states fully ban weed.

Also read:

NJ mayors: Erase more marijuana convictions or we’ll ban pot shops

Legal marijuana deal called close – but then comes the hard part

Get off opioids by smoking pot? NJ expands medical marijuana

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.

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