State legislative leaders have canceled Monday’s planned vote on the bill which would have legalized recreational marijuana in New Jersey after failing to secure enough support in the Senate.
“While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy,” Sweeney said in a statement.
“Governor Murphy has shown real leadership in driving this issue,” Sweeney added. “He worked with Speaker Coughlin, with me and with the bill’s sponsors and social justice advocates in a shared committment to change failed drug laws and reform the criminal justice system.
“This fight is not over. We need to learn from this experience and continue to move forward. While this legislation is not advancing today, I remain committed to its passage.”
The bill, which needed 21 votes to pass the senate, reportedly only had the support of 17 Senators.
The current bill came about as a result of a deal reached by Governor Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. Under the deal, the bill would legalize recreational marijuana for those over the age of 21, license growing facilities and set a $42 per ounce taxation rate. A cannabis regulatory commission would set up the rules under which the new marijuana industry would operate under in New Jersey.
If it passed, New Jersey would have become the 11th state to legalize the drug, but only the second state after Vermont to do it through the state legislature as opposed to allowing the residents to decide through a referendum.
It’s not clear when a vote will finally take place, but it probably will not happen before November, when the entire Assembly is up for re-election.