Things aren’t looking so great for the cannabis legalization effort in New Jersey, even though back in March it seemed like a done deal.
The state of New Jersey is looking less and less likely it’s going to legalize recreational cannabis through the legislative process. After all, only Vermont has done that in such a manner.
Other states that legalized recreational cannabis resorted to leaving it up to the people, and the question of whether it should be legalized found its way to 10 other individual state ballots.
Back in March politicians from both New York and New Jersey have claimed that they’ll legalize recreational marijuana in the shortest possible time frame.
Now, things are looking way grimmer, and it’s totally within the possibilities that neither will end up legalizing it this year.
Time for a break
New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy and his Democratic associates which held the majority of seats in both the Senate and the Assembly failed to get a vote on a law legalizing cannabis as the Democrats failed to whip up the votes.
Several days later New York’s governor also announced that the state will take a backpedal on legalizing cannabis as “negotiations got too complicated” even though he promised he’d legalize it in the first 100 days of his term as governor.
According to a report from the New York Times, the legislators have discussed removing an expungement provision which would clear all those caught with 5 lbs of cannabis or less of all convictions as a means of speeding up the process and passing the bill in time before the self-imposed deadline on May 31st.
On Thursday, the New Jersey governor and Assembly Speaker Collins said that they may have to put the legalization decision on the ballot.
“The referendum has always been out there as an option,” Gov. Murphy said. “Only one state has done this legislatively and that’s Vermont. We have felt that this is a better way to go. It takes more courage, it’s a tough vote for many, and we understand that.”
Changes in medical laws
Even though the legalization of recreational cannabis is looking less likely to happen, changes to the medical cannabis law are going to be made without a doubt.
The state has around 45,000 registered patients, with additional 2,000 registering every month.
Gov. Murphy announced that, as of next week, the state Health Department will have the legal authority to expand the supply and demand for medical cannabis.
The expansion of the medical laws will allow the State’s health commissioner to add medical conditions, which will in return also increase the size of the program. Some of the illnesses which will now appear on the list are chronic pain, anxiety, and migraines.
New Jersey legislators are going to try to pass another medical law that would expand the program even more, but its fate is tied to the recreational cannabis bill which looks to be on hold for now.