POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Murphy to expand medical marijuana if recreational bill not passed soon

BY Julie Daurio, Associate Producer |

Gov. Phil Murphy is giving the Legislature a limited time frame to pass recreational marijuana and the bill it’s connected to that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program. Otherwise, he says he’ll turn his focus to medical marijuana expansion.

“I’m prepared to hold off for a short amount of time, and I would say the month of May would be the edge of that,” Murphy said Thursday. “I’m still confident we can go on and get it done legislatively. I’m open minded and supportive for the Legislature to go back at it and find those last few votes we couldn’t get. But it can’t it can be an unending calendar. We owe too much to the folks in some cases it’s a question of life or death.”

The expansion bill would increase the state’s number of dispensaries and allow patients to buy more cannabis every month.

Legislative leaders have packaged the bills together in the hopes that support for medical expansion will bring in some more “yes” votes for recreational weed.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said Friday he is not planning to split the bills up and will work on amending the recreational bill to get the votes it needs to pass.

“There’s a lot of things the Legislature can do to have its voice heard if we don’t agree, we’re working together so I’m not even going there,” Sweeney said Friday. “Our staffs are working together right now to find solutions to get it passed legislatively and that is the optimum goal for all of us.”