‘We have a ways to go.’ Gov. Murphy fights for votes in effort to legalize recreational marijuana

Gov. Phil Murphy says the votes in the Legislature are not yet there to legalize recreational marijuana.

News 12 Staff

Mar 21, 2019, 9:15 PM

Updated 1,886 days ago

Share:

‘We have a ways to go.’ Gov. Murphy fights for votes in effort to legalize recreational marijuana
Gov. Phil Murphy says the votes in the Legislature are not yet there to legalize recreational marijuana.
The governor said at news conference Thursday that he and legislative leaders are "making progress" convincing lawmakers that they should back the measure that's up for a vote Monday.
“We are close we are not there yet. We are making progress. But we have a ways to go,” Murphy said.
Democrats Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney support the measure that legalizes recreational cannabis for people 21 and over. The measure imposes a $42 per ounce tax, sets up a regulatory commission and expedites marijuana-related expungements.
Supporters of the legalization say that expungement is a major reason to legalize marijuana. They say that it could ensure that those who have been arrested and convicted on marijuana charges could get a second chance when it comes to getting a job again.
Others say that there is a racial component to legalization. Data shows that New Jersey makes 32,000 marijuana arrests a year, with black New Jersey residents being nearly three times as likely to be arrested as white residents.
“One of the talking points has been that marijuana is a gateway drug. And we agree - it's a gateway to county jail or state prison if you are black or brown,” says Richard Smith with the NAACP.
But some lawmakers have expressed their reluctance to support legalization, and the vote's outcome on Monday is uncertain. Critics say that it could actually lead to an increase of street sales of the substance, as well as an increase in traffic safety issues of more people drive while under the influence.
If the measure passes, New Jersey would become the 11th state along with the District of Columbia to legalize recreational marijuana.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


More from News 12
2:10
Prosecution resumes presenting its case in Sen. Menendez’s bribery trial, focusing on Egyptian halal beef deal

Prosecution resumes presenting its case in Sen. Menendez’s bribery trial, focusing on Egyptian halal beef deal

1:51
Mostly sunny skies today in New Jersey ahead of major midweek warmup

Mostly sunny skies today in New Jersey ahead of major midweek warmup

1:59
Route 71 bridge in Monmouth County remains closed as Memorial Day weekend approaches

Route 71 bridge in Monmouth County remains closed as Memorial Day weekend approaches

Scottie Scheffler's Louisville court date postponed after arrest during PGA Championship

Scottie Scheffler's Louisville court date postponed after arrest during PGA Championship

1:19
Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection days after closing dozens of restaurants

Red Lobster seeks bankruptcy protection days after closing dozens of restaurants

0:32
Prosecutors: Man charged with attempted kidnapping in Garfield; victim saved by good Samaritan

Prosecutors: Man charged with attempted kidnapping in Garfield; victim saved by good Samaritan

3:37
Sources: State police search Massapequa Park home of alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer

Sources: State police search Massapequa Park home of alleged Gilgo Beach serial killer

0:16
Police: Driver killed in Jefferson Township car crash on Route 15

Police: Driver killed in Jefferson Township car crash on Route 15

0:23
Dead dolphin washes ashore in Long Branch

Dead dolphin washes ashore in Long Branch

1:41
New Jersey joins Click it or Ticket seat belt campaign. Here's what you should know.

New Jersey joins Click it or Ticket seat belt campaign. Here's what you should know.

1:56
Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with traditional Chinese dragon dance

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with traditional Chinese dragon dance

0:38
Police: Manchester Township driver ejected from motorized bike following crash into SUV

Police: Manchester Township driver ejected from motorized bike following crash into SUV

2:31
Made In New Jersey: Buy or make your own candles at Brighter Days in Marlboro

Made In New Jersey: Buy or make your own candles at Brighter Days in Marlboro

2:11
Turn to Tara: FEMA initiative aims to improve safety of seniors during natural disasters

Turn to Tara: FEMA initiative aims to improve safety of seniors during natural disasters

0:27
Pacers set NBA playoff shooting mark, top Knicks 130-109 in Game 7 to make Eastern Conference finals

Pacers set NBA playoff shooting mark, top Knicks 130-109 in Game 7 to make Eastern Conference finals

Your New Jersey Graduation Photos

Your New Jersey Graduation Photos

2:41
Lantern ceremony in Montclair honors Asian community who faced violence and injustice

Lantern ceremony in Montclair honors Asian community who faced violence and injustice

1:53
Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

Tour de Elizabeth takes cyclists through New Jersey's fourth-largest city

0:30
Coast Guard boards anchored shipping vessel in Manasquan; no violations

Coast Guard boards anchored shipping vessel in Manasquan; no violations

0:23
Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism

Police: Haddonfield man faces charges for arson, stalking and vandalism