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The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Scutari chairs, had been scheduled to hold a vote on the latest clean-up bill at 3 p.m. Wednesday. That meeting was ultimately canceled.
The committee punted on the legislation on Tuesday in order to provide more runway for negotiations between the Murphy administration and Democratic lawmakers. But after a caucus meeting early Wednesday afternoon, it became apparent there wasn’t a path forward.
Two legislative committees on Thursday voted to advance identical versions of the “clean-up” bill, NJ A5211 (20R), to the floor of both the Senate and Assembly. Full votes have been scheduled for Jan. 11, the day before Murphy is scheduled to deliver an annual State of the State address he's typically used as a showcase for the previous year's policy achievements.
Members of the New Jersey state Assembly and Senate have given final approval to legislation permitting the possession of marijuana by adults and regulating its commercial production and retail sales. Each of the measures now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. The Assembly approved A21 by a 49 to 24 vote with six abstentions, and the Senate later approved S21 by a 23 to 17 vote.
Senate Bill 21 and Assembly Bill 21 establish regulatory guidelines for the marijuana market. Under the bills, adults may legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The measures cap the number of commercial cultivators permitted under the law at 37 for the first two years. The measures direct 70 percent of the revenue derived from sales taxes on retail marijuana purchases toward reinvestment in designated communities that have been most adversely impacted by prohibition.
As a New York-based cannabis entrepreneur, I celebrated as New Jersey's vote to legalize adult use cannabis passed by large margins last month. Unfortunately, that joy quickly soured: Legislators put forth a plan – A-21/S-21 – that lacked key social equity provisions won in other states, including allocating funds to help communities harmed by the War on Drugs and clear opportunities for minority communities to participate in the industry.
After weeks of negotiations and years of debate, legislators today are expected to finally pass needed legislation that would make marijuana legal in New Jersey beginning Jan. 1.
The Legislature today is expected to pass the two pieces of "enabling" legislation designed to turn New Jersey voters' wishes to legalize marijuana into reality, allowing marijuana users to possess up to 6 ounces of weed and setting up the framework of a license and tax structure for the purchase and sale of legal weed.
Legislative leaders finally announced they had agreed on a proposed plan on December 4th in a joint statement from Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, and Assembly Majority Conference Chair Annette Quijano: “We’ve reached an agreement on legislation providing the framework for legalization, which is a critical step in reducing racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system.
On Election Day, more than two thirds of voters in the state approved a constitutional amendment that legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over in the state.
However, Public Question No. 1 did not establish key rules like possession limits, and did not specify who would be allowed to cultivate and sell commercial cannabis in stores—or how citizens were supposed to access cannabis, at all.
On Monday, so-called “enabling legislation” to do all that passed a state Senate committee.
A bill legalizing marijuana in New Jersey could soon be puff, puff, passed after the state legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy came to an agreement late Friday.
The governor announced a deal had been reached on Twitter, saying that a framework for the legalization was in place. He went on to say that making marijuana legal in the state is a "critical step in reducing racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagues our criminal justice system."
Lawmakers have reached a deal on a bill that will launch a legal marijuana industry in New Jersey, clearing a path for the bill to pass later this month.
“There is a deal,” Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the sponsor of the marijuana legalization bill (S21) said Friday evening. “It’s been a long road and I’ll be happy when it’s done.”
The compromise puts one limit on licenses back into the legislation: The state can only give out 37 licenses for marijuana growers during the first two years of legalization.