Lawmakers in New Jersey will reportedly vote on an adult-use legalization measure as early as next week after it passed two state legislative committees on Tuesday, NJ.com reports. The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill on a 6-4 vote with one abstention, while the Assembly Appropriations Committee advanced it on a 6-2 vote with two abstentions.
Gov. Phil Murphy included legalization in his campaign platform and, according to the report, “made dozens of calls” to whip votes. Both chambers must pass the bill before it reaches Murphy’s desk.
The measure would allow adults 21-and-older to possess one ounce of flower or five grams of concentrates and includes expungement language. During testimony to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, however, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka called the bill’s expungement process “cumbersome and not effective.”
“It still penalizes individuals that have been convicted of marijuana charges. We should remedy all situations, and give people an opportunity to live their lives wholly and peacefully so that previous cannabis offenses do not deny them access to job opportunities that can help improve their quality of life.” – Mayor Ras Baraka to NJ.com
If the bill passes, legal sales would begin about a year later. If it fails, lawmakers will likely wait until after the November election before taking up the issue again.
Get daily news insights in your inbox. Subscribe