The NJ state legislature has cancelled the vote to legalize recreational cannabis in New Jersey scheduled for today at the last minute. State leaders including Democratic Governor Phil Murphy supported the measure but failed to garner enough support for the Democratic-sponsored bill. He vowed to continue working to gain the 21 votes necessary. He stated that he believes that Cannabis will be legal in NJ, “one way or another.”
“The fight is not over,” New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said in the wake of the blow according to the Associated Press. Sweeney said that the Senate was “very close” to the mandatory 21 votes needed to pass a measure and that education and advocacy for the legislation is what will ultimately propel the bill forward.
The bill would have legalized recreational possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and marijuana products, and marijuana paraphernalia for people over the age of 21 in New Jersey; consumption with similar restrictions to cigarettes; and growth and sale from licensed cannabis growers, retailers and wholesalers.
The bill would also create a taxable commercial cannabis industry and outline its regulations, setting New Jersey’s marijuana tax at 10.75 percent ($42 per ounce)—the lowest in the country—with municipalities levying their own additional rates.
Furthermore, the bill proposed to expunge the records of anyone previously convicted of marijuana possession for up to five pounds.
A future voting date for New Jersey’s recreational cannabis bill has not been announced but it could be as early as May 2019.