Two legislative committees on Thursday voted to advance identical versions of the “clean-up” bill, NJ A5211 (20R), to the floor of both the Senate and Assembly. Full votes have been scheduled for Jan. 11, the day before Murphy is scheduled to deliver an annual State of the State address he's typically used as a showcase for the previous year's policy achievements.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill in a 7-3 party line vote. Several hours earlier, the Assembly Appropriations Committee moved the bill, 8-3, with Assemblymember Antwan McClellan the lone Republican voting ‘yes.’
“I’m starting to feel like Sisyphus of Greek mythology — the guy that rolls the rock up the hill only to get run over by the rock, and then he has to do it over and over and over again,” Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), the Legislature’s top advocate for legal cannabis, said shortly before casting the final vote in the Judiciary Committee. “I hope this is the last time we do this.”
The bill, a compromise measure hatched by lawmakers and Murphy administration officials, makes a litany of technical corrections to the legalization, NJ A21 (20R), and decriminalization, NJ A1897 (20R), bills that were sent to the governor on Dec. 17.