Legal Weed Will Have to Wait in New Jersey

Both houses of the New Jersey legislature have chosen to postpone voting on a bill that would have legalized recreational cannabis in the state.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) has announced that Monday's Senate and Assembly votes on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act has been cancelled.

"While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy," Sweeney said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

The cause for pushing back the vote appears to be a lack of support for New Jersey lawmakers. NJ Legislative leaders have said Gov. Phil Murphy's legalization bill would not have garnered enough 'yes' votes to pass, so the vote is being postponed. Sweeney has said another vote is not expected to happen until sometime this coming November. 

Gov. Murphy had made bringing legal weed to the Garden State a central part of his gubernatorial platform and has been fighting to get his bill to the legislature since he was elected Governor in 2017. Earlier this month, Murphy announced he had finally come to an agreement on the details of his legalization bill with key lawmakers and had pushed to have it voted on in the legislature by March 25.

If passed, Murphy's bill would have established a retail market for pot and allowed adults 21 and over to legally purchase and consume cannabis. It also would have seen marijuana-related convictions expunged from individuals' criminal records, and removed state taxes on medical marijuana.

The cancellation of the vote on legalizing cannabis in New Jersey comes just days after the legalization efforts in New York also hit some roadblocks when Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced cannabis taxes would not be making it onto the state's 2020 budget. While both of these mid-Atlantic states seemed posed to introduce sweeping cannabis policy reforms this year, it now looks like neither will hit that mark.

h/t Rolling Stone

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