NJ Legislature will not vote on legal pot, but 'fight is not over'

Mike DeNardo
March 25, 2019 - 2:15 pm
Marijuana plant

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Legal weed in New Jersey will have to wait. 

Despite a weekend of lobbying by Gov. Phil Murphy, the bill to legalize recreational marijuana does not have enough votes in the state Senate, so it will not be posted for a vote in the legislature.  

Senate President Steve Sweeney said the fight is not over. 

The Senate was close to the 21 votes necessary for passage. In a statement, Sweeney said with more education, he believes the legislation will eventually cross the finish line.  

The legislation would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to use marijuana, and it would have expunged previous convictions for possession. It also called for a tax on pot — $42 per ounce.

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Although the state has moved closer to legal marijuana than ever before, added Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in a statement, he echoed that the process is not over.

"We didn't get a touchdown, but we moved the ball to the one-yard line," Coughlin alluded.

At a news conference late Monday, Murphy added he remains hopeful.

"We came very, very close, I think it's fair to say," he said. "We will get there."

New Jersey would have been the 11th state to make marijuana legal. Now, it's likely that any vote on the issue won't happen until after the November general election.