Gov. Phil Murphy's top priorities for the year ahead have stalled and are at risk of dying legislatively as rising tensions over tax incentives consume an increasing amount of attention in the state capital.
Gov. Phil Murphy
Oh, pity poor Governor Phil Murphy. He came into office with so many plans, and so little has really been accomplished.
The most glaring example, of course, is marijuana. He said he was going to get it legalized in New Jersey quicker than you can say “hey, don’t bogart that joint, man,” but, of course, we’re still as far away from legalization as we were before.
What once seemed like a slam dunk, no brainer, cinch, fizzled as legalization supporters allegedly had enough Assembly votes for passing the measure but came up short with Senate affirmations.
Lawmakers may try again although it’s more likely a 2020 public ballot referendum determines whether marijuana gains legal status.
Please withhold all beliefs about legalization certainty as many municipalities have positioned against weed.
At least, 40 municipalities across the state either banned marijuana businesses or officially voiced opposition to legal weed.
These Limits Are Ridiculous
Among the glaring items that need fixing: An onerous recertification process that requires some patients to get a doctor’s note every 30, 60, or 90 days. In New Jersey, a Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) card is valid for two years. However, the law requires a patient with a card to return to the doctor at least every 90 days for recertification.
Murphy plans to meet with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, Wednesday to figure out how the marijuana-legalization bill can get the full 21 votes to pass the state Senate, according to a person familiar with the discussions who requested anonymity.
Although the state Assembly has the 41 votes needed for the measure to pass, the upper house is several votes short.
“There’s already an agreement. Sweeney, Murphy and Coughlin already have an agreement. It’s just the votes,” the person said.
Peter Barsoom lives in Denver, but he really wants to come home to New Jersey.
The son of Egyptian immigrants, Barsoom grew up in Jersey City and East Brunswick and earned his master’s degree in political science at Princeton University. For two decades, he was a successful Wall Street executive. But five years ago, he decided to roll the dice: He quit his day job at Intercontinental Exchange and dove headfirst into the nascent cannabis industry in Colorado.
Sources close to Patch say negotiations have slowed to a crawl since Gov. Phil Murphy's administration has been investigating whether corporations misused tax breaks in past years, including one company owned by Democratic powerbroker George Norcross, a close ally of Senate President Stephen Sweeney.
If marijuana legalization is going to happen, it needs both Sweeney and Murphy on the same page, scrambling to get the votes needed to pass the legislation. Read more: New Jersey Cancels Vote On Marijuana Legalization
New Jersey has danced around the matter of legalization since Gov. Phil Murphy took office in early 2018. And the state has come close.
But lawmakers canceled a March 25 vote on a legalization bill after it became clear that the Senate couldn’t muster the necessary votes. Murphy, however, remains eager to see this bill get through the legislature sometime this month—before dropping his efforts and focusing more closely on expanding the state’s medical cannabis market.
AUTHOR: Patrick McKnight
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
In addition to the need for additional growers, DMM found average retail prices to be prohibitive to patients whose treatment plan requires greater volumes of marijuana.
For example, a patient purchasing 1 ounce per month – half the maximum allowed – would pay nearly $6,000 out of pocket over the course of a year.
By comparison, based on recent prices, 1 ounce per month would cost an Oregon patient $2,820 and an Illinois patient $4,500.
To determine future levels of supply and demand, DMM assessed two patient-growth scenarios: