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.
New Jersey Senate
Legal weed could be just hours away after legislators on Monday passed a much-debated bill that virtually decriminalizes underage marijuana and alcohol use.
The state Senate on Monday morning approved a bill dictating the penalties for underage marijuana and alcohol use, a “clean-up” bill seen as the last step before Gov. Phil Murphy will sign into law a bill package legalizing weed.
The Senate passed the bill with a 22 to 12 vote. The Assembly is expected to pass the bill within the hour.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) today extended an olive branch to State Sen. Ronald Rice (R-Newark).
“The Senate chamber is not a place for personal attacks, as my name was continually under attack during the marijuana legalization debate. I unfortunately responded in kind. I should not have done that and for that I am sorry,” Scutari said. “While we vehemently disagree on the policy of marijuana legalization, I should not have personally disparaged him or his commitment to his community.”
As with all things cannabis in New Jersey, Thursday’s historic vote was marked by dysfunction, vicious political infighting and resentment.
Shortly after moving the bill to the floor with an emotional speech meant to cap his yearslong legalization effort, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the lead sponsor, got into a shouting match with Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex), head of the Legislative Black Caucus and a cannabis opponent, over who had done more (or less) for disadvantaged communities.
New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation to regulate and launch an adult-use marijuana market next year that’s expected to become the largest on the East Coast with sales approaching $1 billion in a few years.
Passage of the implementation bill by the Assembly and the Senate comes six weeks after residents voted to legalize adult use at the ballot box.
A New Jersey Assembly voting session that had been scheduled for Monday and was to include a measure setting up the new recreational marijuana market has been canceled, Speaker Craig Coughlin said Friday.
Coughlin, a Democrat, said it was clear the legislation wouldn’t get final approval because of differences between his chamber’s bill and one in the Democrat-led Senate.
“The Assembly’s approach for producing fair and responsible legislation is to be thoughtful and deliberative,” he said in a statement.
New Jerseyans are tantalizingly close to having a constitutional right to use cannabis — but not yet. And based on what happened at the Statehouse on Thursday, not nearly as soon as lawmakers had hoped.
After a pair of committee hearings, Democratic leaders in the Senate and Assembly remain far apart on key provisions of enabling legislation that sets the legal and regulatory framework for the state’s legalization amendment, which takes effect Jan. 1.
Many of the pitfalls were anticipated.
A battle over psychedelic mushrooms was not.
On Monday, the Senate voted to amend a decriminalization bill to include psilocybin, the hallucinogenic compound in so-called magic mushrooms, or “shrooms,” snarling the time-sensitive negotiations over a separate legalization bill. That bill creates a framework for the constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, which takes effect Jan. 1.
The New Jersey Senate on Monday approved a marijuana decriminalization bill as lawmakers continue to discuss broader enabling legislation to legalize cannabis following voter approval of the issue on Election Day.
Members of the Assembly were also scheduled to take up the decriminalization proposal—which would eliminate criminal and civil penalties for marijuana possession of up to six ounces. But that action was postponed, in part over disagreements about an amendment added in committee last week that would lower penalties for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.
A key New Jersey Senate committee approved a bill on Monday to implement marijuana regulations following voter approval of an adult-use legalization referendum last week. And members of an Assembly panel are currently debating a companion proposal, with a vote expected soon.