POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Vote to legalize marijuana called off

BY Zachary Lanning, Associate Producer |

Senate President Steve Sweeney announced Monday that there would be no vote on a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state of New Jersey. The Senate was scheduled to take up a package of  bills concerning marijuana at some point during a voting session that began at noon, but in a statement released around 12:30 p.m. Sweeney announced that they did not have the necessary votes for the measure to pass and would therefore be pulling the entire package of bills off of the docket.

“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,” said Sweeney.

Legislative leaders, including Gov. Phil Murphy, had spent the previous weeks attempting to reach the 21-vote threshold needed for passage in the Senate, but were unable to garner the necessary “yes” votes.

The bill package was scheduled for a vote in the Assembly at 1 p.m. but has been pulled from consideration there as well.

“Today does not mark the end of the process and effort. I remain committed to enacting the legislation. I appreciate the support of the Assembly Caucus for the bills and look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Senate President to pass this landmark legislation which will serve as a national model,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in a statement.

Both Coughlin and Sweeney expressed a firm commitment to passing marijuana legalization in the future. Sen. Sweeney said in a pres conference he would post the bills again “as soon as I know I have 21 votes for sure.”