A new survey out by NJ Cannabis Insider reveals that New Jersey’s fight to decriminalize marijuana is looking like an uphill battle. In fact, it shows that if the state Senate were to vote today on legalizing recreational marijuana, it would fail big time.
Only five members of the 40-member Senate said they would vote “yes,” while 15 said they were undecided. (Check out the full list of how state lawmakers stand.)
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The measure needs 21 votes to pass the Senate, plus an additional 41 votes to clear the 80-member state Assembly.
On the bright side, Gov. Phil Murphy, whose entire campaign platform hinged on legalizing marijuana, says he’s ready to sign the bill. But that might take a while.
According to NJ Cannabis Insider, State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the lead sponsor of the marijuana legalization, has not yet scheduled a hearing on the bill, and is still wavering on whether or not to revise it. But he says he’s confident they’ll have enough votes when the time comes, backing off a previous prediction that Democrats would get the bill signed within 100 days of Murphy’s term.
Murphy and his administration are halfway through their evaluation of the state’s current medical marijuana program, which patients condemn as being too restrictive and expensive.
As The Fresh Toast reported in January, the opioid epidemic was one of the many reasons Murphy decided to step up New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. It was also part of his platform to broadly legalize the plant for all New Jersey residents. Now New Jerseyans wait patiently for the Executive Order legalizing recreational cannabis, as originally promised.