State Watch

New Jersey set to cancel vote to legalize recreational marijuana

The New Jersey legislature will cancel a vote planned for Monday on legalizing recreational use of marijuana, according to

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said in the statement to the news outlet that the bill, which would have approved recreational use among adults 21 and older in the Garden State, did not have the votes to pass.

"While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy," Sweeney told the publication.

Leaders in the legislature said they would not bring the measure to a vote if they weren't guaranteed the 21 votes needed for passage in the Senate and the 41 needed in the state Assembly, according to Sweeney has said he would not schedule another vote until after statewide November elections at the earliest.

After a day of negotiations last week, leaders in the legislature had hoped to advance the bill to the floor in both chambers. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) had called for legalizing recreational adult use of the drug in his January State of State address.

"By legalizing adult-use marijuana - first and foremost - we can reverse the inequality and unfairness left from years of failed drug policies and shift public safety resources to where they can do the most good," Murphy said.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is running for president, had also endorsed the bill, citing its potential impact on mass incarceration. 

"All too often, communities of color and low-income individuals are unjustly impacted by our broken drug policies, but by including measures to expunge records and reinvest in the communities most impacted, our state has the opportunity to lead in prioritizing social justice," Booker said last week.