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December 13, 2018

New Jersey won’t vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018

A Thursday meeting didn't bring sufficient compromise for lawmakers

Marijuana Legislation
Carroll - NJ Marijuana Dispensary Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Packaged medical marijuana.

A vote before the year was out sounded possible, but it seems now that New Jersey state lawmakers will wait until 2019 to consider legalizing recreational marijuana.

A Thursday meeting between Gov. Phil Murphy, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin could have set up a vote by next week.

Instead, the three couldn’t reach a compromise on legislation, according to, and now one of the most contentious issues of Murphy’s tenure will be pushed to next year.

The biggest thing keeping Murphy and state leaders apart on legislation, reports, is a disagreement on how much to tax legal marijuana.

Back in mid-September, one iteration of the bill proposed a 10 percent marijuana tax, which would’ve tied Nevada for the lowest marijuana tax in the country. Murphy has reportedly pushed for a 25 percent tax.

While the legislation has taken longer than Murphy and other leaders, and New Jersey residents, would’ve liked, legal recreational marijuana in the Garden State is basically an inevitability at this point. 

Just last month, a bill advanced in the state Senate and Assembly, pushing legalization one step closer to reality. 

For now, though, the state will celebrate one more Christmas without a … different kind of tree.

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