Attempts to avoid marijuana veto hinge on Monday state Assembly voting session
The state Assembly has a voting session scheduled on Monday that could be the only thing that avoids a veto from Gov. Phil Murphy on recreational marijuana legislation bills.
The vote is the last chance to clean up discrepancies between a decriminalization bill and legislation setting up a legal marijuana market in New Jersey. Both bills have been sitting on Murphy’s desk for more than a month.
“We’ve got a lot of folks doing everything they can to try and get this into a good place. We shall see,” Murphy said Friday.
But legislators say that they still aren’t sure if they will be successful in bridging the gap.
“It’s pushing everything back, you know? We’ve had committees canceled. We have other important work to do. And it is very frustrating that we can’t get to it,” says state Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield.
Voting in the state Assembly has been at a standstill for more than a month. And Republicans like Stanfield are growing frustrated.
“The people have already voted on it. So it will happen,” she says. “But my only concern is from the traffic perspective. We did a lot of traffic work when I was sheriff and right now there’s no way to tell reliably if some is driving under the influence.”
The bills passed by the Legislature will automatically become law the next time the Assembly convenes. The governor has vowed to veto the bills to prevent that. Once the Assembly meets on Monday, both the Assembly and Senate have until noon to pass a fix for the marijuana bills to avoid the governor’s threatened veto.
Murphy said members of the Legislature are working hard to avoid that scenario.
“A special shout out to the Black and Latino caucuses in both chambers. I take my hat off to them, the energies they've put into this, our team, I'm proud of,” Murphy said.
If the governor vetoes the bills, Senate President Steve Sweeney says the whole process goes back to square one.
Even if the Assembly was to postpone Monday's voting session, leaders are still planning to assemble on Tuesday to hear the governor's budget speech.