State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) plans to introduce a technical bill to bring into line language differences between decriminalization and legalization bills on the governor’s desk as a fallback in case lawmakers fail to reach an agreement on a cleanup bill in time for votes in both chambers scheduled for later this week.
“I am planning on an additional backup plan that would just clarify what the governor’s office suggests is an inconsistency between cannabis and marijuana, and to me, that’s a simple fix: a one-page bill that just basically says ‘in all instances where there’s an inconsistency between what’s stated as marijuana and what’s stated as cannabis, the word and phraseology in marijuana would be controlling,” Scutari told the New Jersey Globe. “Who couldn’t vote for that?”
The Senate Judiciary Committee planned to advance a cleanup bill at its Tuesday hearing, but that plan was scuttled by inclement weather that’s expected to delay voting sessions in the Assembly and Senate scheduled for Thursday until Friday.
The panel will reconvene Wednesday to advance the cleanup bill and Scutari’s backup, which is meant to address concerns from the front office over disparities between how marijuana and cannabis are treated under legalization and decriminalization bills awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature.
In those bills, cannabis refers to marijuana obtained through the state’s yet-unestablished legal market, while marijuana refers black market purchases of the drug.