New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) says state lawmakers may vote on marijuana legalization on October 29.
“We’ve had good exchanges with both the legislative leadership sponsors and, most importantly, the teams in the trenches crafting this,” Murphy said during a recent live Facebook interview in which he was asked about legalizing marijuana . “I think it’s sooner than later.”
Murphy says that based on current discussions and support, having a vote on October 29 “feels about right.” The two things that may potentially delay a vote is a debate on marijuana taxes (Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he won’t support anything higher than 12%, while some have argued for as high as 25%), and disagreement about which regulatory body should oversee the legal marijuana industry.
During his election campaign last year Governor Murphy vowed to legalize marijuana within 100 days of becoming governor. He’s already missed that goal, but has continued to actively push for legalization.
According to polling released in March; “Voters support 59 – 37 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use”. Support is “63 – 33 percent among men and 55 – 41 percent among women. White voters support legalized marijuana 58 – 39 percent, with non-white support at 60 – 35 percent. ”
Last month New Jersey’s Senate Economic Growth Committee passed a bill that would legalize industrial hemp. However, the measure would have had no impact on marijuana laws.
Under current New Jersey law, possessing under 50 grams of marijuana is punishable by an $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.