We’re about two weeks from the deadline for Gov. Murphy to act on the weed legalization and decriminalization bills on his desk, and negotiations to date haven’t gotten far.
Feb. 8 is the drop dead date, as that’s the first quorum in the Assembly — where both bills originated — after the bill has been on Murphy’s desk for 45 days.
The administration has held conference calls with lawmakers, most recently the Assembly’s Black members. But they haven’t been fruitful.
One of the weirdest things about this fight is that Sens. Ronald Rice and Nia Gill (both D-Essex) killed the “clean-up” bill Murphy and the Legislature had settled on because of “stationhouse adjustments” for underage users they say would basically lead to stop-and-frisk. But both are urging the governor to sign the bills on his desk, one of which allows underage users to be charged with disorderly persons offenses — a significantly harsher penalty than bringing kids into the station to warn them off weed. But the disorderly persons offense would only apply to those caught with weed that originates from the legal market. How would authorities determine the weed’s provenance without a receipt or obvious packaging? Your guess is as good as mine.