For well over a year, New Jersey’s Democratic leaders have been trying to legalize and expand the use of cannabis in the state. Now that adult-use is all but certain to be on the 2020 ballot, and medical marijuana expansion is headed to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, experts are contemplating what comes next.
A BILL TO LEGALIZE recreational marijuana in New York is dead for now, its sponsor said, ending a push by lawmakers and advocates to pass the measure before the end of the scheduled legislative session Wednesday.
At the start of the year, New Yorkers were promised that cannabis legalization was on the agenda for lawmakers in the state and that the issue would be addressed in the early part 2019. Now, six months later we are finding that legislators are continuing to put off efforts to reform cannabis policy for numerous reasons. However, while lawmakers debate on the logistics, it appears that more than half of voters in the state are ready for legal marijuana.
This was supposed to be the big year for marijuana legalization. But in many state capitols across the country, efforts have stalled or collapsed as Democrats clash over everything from race and criminal justice to how to divvy up a gold mine of pot-tax revenue.
Legalization of recreational marijuana seemed all but inevitable in at least a half-dozen states when the year began — including New York, New Jersey and Illinois, which all have Democratic legislatures.
Social justice provisions or not, Connecticut could make history: if it acts soon, it may become the first state to create a legal retail market for the drug through its legislature. But advocates in Connecticut will not be satisfied by a simple legalization law, they said.
A push to legalize recreational marijuana in New York and New Jersey this year appears all but dead in both states, a dramatic fall for an effort that just over a month ago seemed inevitable.
For months, the two states were locked in a race to legalize, vying for millions in tax revenue and progressive bragging rights. But at the end of March, the campaign in New Jersey abruptly collapsed, hours before a vote was supposed to take place.
Phil Murphy: New Jersey’s 56th governor, he’s a former Wall Street executive who also served as U.S. ambassador to Germany under former President Barack Obama. Murphy didn’t hold elected office until he easily defeated his Republican rival in the 2017 election.
To anyone who figured the path of legalizing recreational marijuana use ran along blue state-red state lines, a sudden setback for cannabis advocates in New Jersey may show the issue isn't so black-and-white.
The Tri-state battle over recreational weed began in 2017, when New Jersey voted in Governor Phil Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs higher-up who defeated his predecessor Chris Christie's lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno, by vowing to fight against Donald Trump's policies, raise the minimum wage to $15, and legalize recreational marijuana as soon as possible. All within the first 100 days, he assured everybody.
A monthslong effort to legalize marijuana in New Jersey collapsed on Monday after Democrats were unable to muster enough support for the measure, derailing a central campaign pledge by Gov. Philip D. Murphy and leaving the future of the legalization movement in doubt.
The failure in the Legislature marks one of the biggest setbacks for Mr. Murphy, who, despite having full Democratic control in the State Senate and Assembly, has faced constant party infighting and has struggled to convince lawmakers of his progressive agenda.