The compromise bill on its way to the governor’s desk makes it so youth would be subject to a written warning if they’re caught with cannabis. lawmakers feel this should satisfy Murphy and motivate him to sign the implementation bill, as well as a separate piece of legislation concerning the decriminalization of possession, which could take place as early as Monday.
The Senate first approved the penalties proposal, which cleared the Judiciary Committee on Friday, in a 22-12 vote. It was then transmitted to to the Assembly, where members voted 49-27, with one abstention, to pass it.
Earlier in the day, the Assembly passed its earlier version of “clean up” legislation that had advanced through the chamber’s Community Development and Affairs Committee late last month. But it’s the Senate proposal that is now heading to the governor.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D) previously said that Murphy’s request to add penalties for underage marijuana use was sufficiently addressed in the December legislation that’s already on his desk and “all avenues to clarify it any further are exhausted.” Advocates have also pushed back against the governor’s underage penalties request, arguing that it threatens to perpetuate the consequences of racially discriminatory enforcement practices.