Murphy Makes Final Push to Legalize Marijuana in New Jersey Before Vote - NBC New York

Murphy Makes Final Push to Legalize Marijuana in New Jersey Before Vote

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Final NJ Push to Legalize Marijuana

    The state of New Jersey is making its final push to legalize recreational marijuana. Pat Battle reports.

    (Published Friday, March 22, 2019)

    What to Know

    • New Jersey is making its final push to legalize recreational marijuana as lawmakers prepare to vote early next week.

    • After months of public hearings and private meetings, a proposal to regulate and tax marijuana is scheduled to go to vote Monday

    • The bill needs 21 votes to pass in the Senate before heading to the Assembly

    New Jersey is making its final push to legalize recreational marijuana as lawmakers prepare to vote early next week.

    After months of public hearings and private meetings, a proposal to regulate and tax marijuana is scheduled to go to vote Monday. However, it is unclear what the outcome of that vote will be.

    “We’re not there yet. We’ve made some good progress. I’m an optimist in life but we’re not there yet.” Gov. Phil Murphy said sounding determined but less than confident that his will become the next to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use.

    The governor continues to work in an effort to get the bill passed after a campaign pledge they gave many New Jersey high hopes that cannabis would be legal in the Garden State by now.

    But the opposition is mounted on a number of fronts — from the potential social impact on cities to giving minorities a fair slice of the economic pie to expunging the records of the thousands convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses.

    “My energy focused on expungement and the social justice that’s surrounding all of this,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said. “I mean, the legislators are going to do what the legislators are going to do, but they have to — whatever they decide — they have to include us.”

    Baraka was in Trenton early this week testifying on that very issue. However, while he says he supports the legislation, he doesn’t get to vote on it.

    State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican, is one who may cross party lines.

    “I’ll consider voting for a good bill,” O’Scanlon said.

    The bill needs 21 votes to pass in the Senate before heading to the Assembly.

    Murphy says that if it does not pass, he’ll look into expanding the medical marijuana licenses in the state.

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