Lawmakers in New Jersey have called off the vote on a measure to legalize cannabis because they did not have enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill, NJ.com reports.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, indicated the vote would be held “as soon [as he has] 21 votes for sure. Sweeney had previously said that if the bill failed to make it to the floor they would table it until after next year’s elections.
“We’ll be back at this. 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.” – Sweeney at a news conference via NJ.com
The vote was expected this week after the legislation passed two legislative committees last week. It was reported that Gov. Phil Murphy had made “dozens of calls” to lawmakers urging them to back the bill. Legalization was included in the Democratic governor’s campaign platform. Sweeney noted on Monday that Democratic lawmakers had been working throughout the week to whip the votes.
According to the report, the measure had the 41 votes required to pass it in the Assembly but had only received support from 17 or 18 of Senate members.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, a Democrat, said in a statement he was “disappointed” and echoed Sweeney’s statements that the bill would eventually make it to the floor in both chambers.
“We moved closer to the goal than ever before,” Coughlin said in a release. “Today does not mark the end of the process and effort. I remain committed to enacting the legislation.”
The move also delays two other cannabis measures tied to the legalization measure: an expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program and expunging low-level cannabis convictions.
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