New Jersey Lawmakers’ Marijuana Talks Break Down Months After Voters Approve Legalization

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Following weeks of negotiations with the governor, a top New Jersey lawmaker said on Wednesday that he is abandoning revised compromise legislation to implement marijuana regulations in the state. It’s been more than three months since New Jersey voters approved an adult-use cannabis legalization referendum. In December, lawmakers sent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) a pair of bills to implement legal sales and decriminalize possession, but a dispute with the governor over his desire to see penalties instituted for underage people has stalled the process. There have been repeated attempts to reach an agreement on the issue—including the introduction of an earlier version of a “clean up” bill that cleared an Assembly committee late last month—but a top senator signaled that negotiations are over with respect to his chamber’s measure. Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D), chair of the Judiciary Committee, cancelled a scheduled vote on newly revised clean up legislation in his panel on Wednesday. There was a hearing on that bill on Monday, and a vote that was originally set for Tuesday was also cancelled. Scutari said on Wednesday that the governor’s request to add penalties for underage marijuana use was sufficiently addressed in the December legislation that’s already on his desk and “all avenues to clarify it any further are exhausted,” according to NJ.com. Advocates have pushed back against the Murphy’s underage penalties request, arguing that it threatens to perpetuate the consequences of racially discriminatory enforcement practices. The governor’s deadline to act on the cannabis implementation bill on his desk—in addition to the complementary decriminalization measure—depends on the next time the Assembly quorums, which could be as soon as Friday. He could sign, veto or conditionally veto the bills; the latter option would send any proposal back to the legislature to approve or reject changes he made. If Murphy takes no…

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Source : New Jersey Lawmakers’ Marijuana Talks Break Down Months After Voters Approve Legalization

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