Cannabis legalization in New Jersey delayed after lawmakers call off vote

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Cannabis legalization in New Jersey delayed after lawmakers call off vote

Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy

Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy

Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy

Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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A group of New Jersey’s top lawmakers have called off a Monday vote on a cannabis bill that would legalize the green plant for adults aged 21 and above. They attributed the cancellation to a lack of support in the state Senate.

Pro-cannabis advocates will likely feel disappointed at the delay. However, the lawmakers who called off the vote for cannabis legalization in New Jersey have promised to take up the measure at a later date.

(Pictured) New Jersey State Senator Steve Sweeney

Cannabis legalization is one of Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature campaign proposals.

“Anybody who thinks this is dead, they’re wrong,” said State Senator Steve Sweeney during a news conference after the vote was called off at a Trenton-based Statehouse.

“This is an issue that’s not going away,” Sweeney said. “The legalization of adult-use [cannabis] will get passed in the state of New Jersey, one way or another.”

Another vote for cannabis legalization in New Jersey expected later this year

News of Sweeney calling off the vote was initially reported by NJ Advance Media. His decision arose after it was obvious the bill wouldn’t pass through the Senate. It needed a handful more votes to be cleared.

Two important measures were connected with the bill, one of which would abolish thousands of cannabis convictions in the state and another that would broaden the state’s medical cannabis program, which has been previously criticized for its lack of development.

Some lawmakers are hopeful that another vote will take place as early as May.

“As soon as I have 21 votes for sure,” is what Sweeney responded when asked about a date for the postponed vote.

Murphy promised cannabis legalization in New Jersey after winning election

Murphy might be feeling a bit nervous now, since he did such a good job of reassuring residents that he would legalize cannabis during the 2017 Democrat’s platform when he won election.

The prompt for votes on Monday was regarded as a referendum exploring Murphy’s ability to collaborate with lawmakers for the passing of one of his signature proposals. In addition to this, it was considered a referendum on the level of support mustered by legislative Democrats.

Murphy is just 14 months into his governorship and it’s been a busy time for the Governor of New Jersey, to say the least.

Most recently, Murphy has been working alongside legislative leaders in a bid to encourage lawmakers to pass the Democratic-sponsored bill.  But, Sweeney feels that he “may have underestimated the challenge of getting this passed.”

“We need to learn from this experience and continue to move forward,” the Senate president stated. Murphy can’t sign the bill into law unless it passes both houses of the Legislature – the Senate and Assembly.

According to various sources, the Assembly did have the necessary amount of votes – 41 – to pass on Monday. The only problem was that the Senate had gathered just 17 or 18 members to vote yes by noon.