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New Jersey Lawmakers hash out marijuana bill, but can it pass?

Democratic New Jersey lawmakers spent part of Tuesday going over the fine points of a bill that their leaders say is the almost-final, soon-to-pass vehicle for allowing anyone 21 and older to buy and consume marijuana. After missing earlier, informal deadlines for mustering enough votes to pass a bill that Gov. Phil Murphy would sign, Senate President Stephen Sweeney maintained that his Oct. 29 deadline remains within sight.

But the two-hour session among Democratic senators was fractious by many accounts, and a bill would not pass if five or more of the 25 Democratic senators dissent and no Republican votes in favor. And there’s no guarantee Murphy would sign a bill with a tax rate he deems too low, or that doesn’t go far enough in redressing racial inequities in previous convictions for marijuana crimes.

So here’s where things stand now with legalizing marijuana in New Jersey:

The bill

The latest draft of the legislation, dated Oct. 4, spans 135 pages and addresses taxes, regulations and eligibility to operate a marijuana business. [Read more at]

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