August 09, 2019
After a tug-of-war for much of the year, New Jersey lawmakers' efforts to legalize marijuana by the end of 2019 hit a roadblock in mid-May when Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said legislators were putting the push for a bill on hold.
Fast forward to this week, however, and Sweeney is suddenly singing a different tune.
"We'll make one more run at it," Sweeney told NJ.com about state lawmakers' renewed desire to legalize marijuana before the year is out.
The belief, in mid-May, was that lawmakers would put the legalization effort on hold until 2020, when they would turn the question over to New Jersey's voters with a ballot referendum.
But Sweeney said this week that he believes agreement on language in the bill between himself, Murphy, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) could be enough to push it through, according to NJ.com.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy made legalizing marijuana a pillar of his 2017 gubernatorial campaign. He declared New Jersey would legalize marijuana by the end of 2018 during his first budget proposal address, but was unsuccessful.
Murphy said Thursday that he was "happy to hear" that Sweeney wants to keep trying for legalization.
"Getting something to happen sooner if we have a real shot at it, I’d be all in for that," Murphy said.
In February, a Monmouth University poll found 62% of New Jersey residents supported legalization, compared to just 32% opposed.
Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 10 states across the United States, including nearby Massachusetts.