Lawmakers give up on legislation to legalize weed in New Jersey

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TRENTON -

New Jersey lawmakers seem to have given up on trying to pass legislation to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in the state.

State Senate President Steve Sweeney says that voters will be asked to make the decision in the general election next year instead.

Sweeney made the announcement Wednesday.

RELATED: O’Scanlon: New Jersey’s medical marijuana program needs expanding 
RELATED: Gov. Murphy: Referendum on weed is an option, but bill preferred 

The Senate president says that now lawmakers will move forward with related measures that would expand the state's medical marijuana program and expunge the criminal records of people with convictions for possessing pot.

Gov. Phil Murphy did not comment directly Wednesday about Sweeney’s announcement. But the governor did say that he was open to new legislation on medical marijuana expansion and criminal records expungement. Murphy said he'll need to see more details on what form any expungement legislation would take.

Legalizing marijuana was a major part of Murphy’s campaign for governor, but he and Sweeney have been unable to muster enough support from fellow Democrats to pass the measure. A measure to legalize recreational weed for those 21 and over while also allowing marijuana-related convictions to be wiped clean failed to get enough support in March.

RELATED: Group rallies in support of marijuana legalization on 4/20 
RELATED: Marijuana vote postponement a blow to the cannabis industry 

Murphy had previously said that he was not fully in favor of placing the question on the ballot and said that he would rather have it done legislatively.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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