The front steps of the New Jersey Statehouse.

William Doyle

Survey Finds Scant Support for Cannabis Legalization Among New Jersey Lawmakers

A survey by NJ Cannabis Insider of the state’s 40-member Senate found just five members who indicated they would vote for a bill to legalize cannabis use for adults. NJ Cannabis Insider is a new publication by NJ Advance Media.

The survey, conducted over three weeks via telephone, in-person, and by email, found 20 members who said they would vote no, while 15 more said they were undecided or did not respond to the inquiry.

The survey also found low support among New Jersey Assembly members, with just five members indicating they would vote yes, six firm no votes, and another 68 members who are undecided or did not respond. In the Senate, 21 votes are required to pass legislation, while 41 are required in the Assembly.

Supporters in the Senate are all Democrats, including Sen. Nicholas Scutari – the sponsor of the legalization measure – Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, Sen. Vin Gopal, and Sen. Nia Hill. In the Senate, legalization is backed by Democrats Asm. Jamel Holley, Asm. Reed Gusciora, Asm. Timothy Eustace, and Asm. John Burzichelli. Asm. Michael Carroll is the lone Republican offering support for the reforms.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy included cannabis legalization as one of the planks of his campaign platform. The legalization measure has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Scutari.

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