New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have reportedly resolved the last major sticking point in their year-long talks on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey, according to a report from NJ Advance Media.
The three leaders are expected to announce the deal publicly later this morning.
According to the report, the goal is for a vote to happen in both houses of the Legislature — the state Senate and Assembly — on March 25th. It would then need to be signed into law by the Governor.
Sweeney told NJ Advance Media last week the Legislature would need to vote by the end of March if they wanted to avoid another several months of waiting. That, the Senate president said, is because many lawmakers are on vacation in April, and in May, Legislatures are bound to be tied up by state budget negotiations.
If passed, New Jersey would become only the second state, after Vermont, to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, the report noted. Numerous other states have done so by asking voters through a ballot referendum.
However, despite Democrats holding a significant majority in both Houses, final passage is in now guaranteed.
According to the report, which cited sources, Sweeney and Coughlin are still at least six votes short of the 21 they need to pass the measure in the state Senate and at least three votes shy of the 41 needed in the Assembly.