A month-long effort to legalize recreational marijuana for people 21 and over in New Jersey has gone in vain as the Democrats failed to garner the support required in the state senate.
This might go down as one of the biggest setbacks for Governor Philip D. Murphy, who, in spite of having full Democratic Control in the State Senate & Assembly, has been incessantly dealing with party infighting.
Notably, legalizing recreational marijuana was a key plank in the Democrat’s platform when Murphy won the election in 2017.
“Anybody who thinks this is dead, they’re wrong,” State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said at a news conference shortly after the vote was called off at the Statehouse in Trenton.
Lawmakers are looking to schedule another vote in May. The move has also resulted in the postponement of two more aspects associated with the bill- expunging thousands of cannabis-related convictions, and expanding the state’s often-criticized medical cannabis program.
“We need to learn from this experience and continue to move forward,” the Senate president, Sweeney, said.
A report in NJ Advance media says that the bill had its 41 votes from the assembly; however, it fell short by 3 votes in the upper house, where a minimum of 21 votes was required. Notably, both the houses of the legislature need to pass the bill, before it can be brought into law by the governor.
It has been more than a year that Democratic lawmakers have been trying to get New Jersey on the list of states (10 states and Washington D.C.) that have legalized cannabis for recreational use. However, they have prefered to take the legislative route, rather than going through a ballot referendum as most of the other states.
Once legalized, the adult-use marijuana industry in NJ will help increase state revenue, generate jobs, improve social justice, etc.
A recent poll conducted by Monmouth University has confirmed that the majority of New Jerseyans love recreational weed!