New Jersey Lawmakers Delay Marijuana Legalization Vote

TRENTON, NJ — Leaders in the New Jersey legislature on Monday postponed scheduled floor votes on legislation that sought to legalize and regulate the adult use marijuana market.

The delay was announced after it became unclear whether the measure possessed enough votes to pass on the Senate floor.

Despite the delay, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy continues to back the plan, as does Senate President Steve Sweeney.

“The fight is not over,” Sen. Sweeney said. “Anybody who thinks this is dead is wrong. This is not an issue that’s going away. Marijuana will get passed in the state of New Jersey one way or another.”

Commenting on the delay, NORML Political Associate Tyler McFadden said: “Voters and lawmakers both agree that the practice of treating marijuana consumers as second-class citizens must end. Unfortunately, legislative intransigence regarding how best to create a regulatory framework has resulted in, at least for now, a continuation of the failed policy of marijuana criminalization in the Garden State.”

She added: “Criminalization is a policy that results in over 35,000 marijuana-related arrests annually in New Jersey — mostly for low-level marijuana possession. These arrests do not promote public safety, cost taxpayers millions of dollars, and disproportionately impact the poor and communities of color. It is pivotal that leadership address and enact needed marijuana law reforms in New Jersey, including efforts to expunge past low-level marijuana convictions.”

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