Should the bill pass, New Jersey would become the second state, after Vermont, to legalize marijuana through the legislative process.
However, passage of the bill is not guaranteed. While Democrats control both chambers of the New Jersey legislature, the state Senate is reportedly six votes short of the necessary 21 and the General Assembly is three votes shy of the necessary 41.
On Monday, Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin — who have spearheaded the legalization effort with Senate President Stephen Sweeney — appeared at an unrelated press conference and said they were optimistic about a March 25th vote, but would not guarantee it.
“I think it’s most important that we get this right,” said Coughlin. “We’re doing something that’s a seismic shift in public policy and we’re creating a new industry. I think that demands we get both of those things right.”