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Murphy and the governors of several other states in the Northeast have also engaged in a regional dialogue about how to coordinate their cannabis markets after it’s legalized. It’s not clear how New Jersey opting for a referendum process will impact those discussions, however.
Here’s how the marijuana question will appear on the ballot, per the resolution approved by lawmakers:
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA
Do you approve amending the Constitution to legalize a controlled form of marijuana called “cannabis”?
Super-majorities of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate decided today to place a marijuana legalization ballot question before voters in 2020.
The question will appear as a constitutional amendment on the November election ballot. Senators voted 24 to 16 in favor of the effort, while members of the Assembly voted 49 to 24. State law requires that three-fifths of lawmakers in both chambers approve a resolution to place an amendment on the ballot.
If voters approve the legal weed ballot question, New Jersey would be the 12th state to legalize recreational weed and — as of now — the first in the Mid-Atlantic region. If it fails, the Legislature won't be able to consider the issue for three years.
The magic numbers are 24 and 48
Those are the number of votes needed in the Senate and Assembly, respectively, to place legal weed on the ballot in November 2020. There's speculation those totals are within reach, but the picture won't be made clear until the actual voting.
If the Legislature doesn't hit those numbers, lawmakers will have to vote on it in another session next year. In both votes, there would need to be 21 "yes" votes in the Senate and 41 "yes" votes in the Assembly.