As New Jersey’s leaders aim to pass a bill by the end of next month to legalize marijuana in the state, they’re grappling with a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t dilemma that’s threatening their efforts.
After more than a year of debate and wrangling, Gov. Phil Murphy and his fellow top Democrats remain a few votes short of the number they need to pass the measure — a cornerstone of Murphy’s agenda — in the state Legislature.
A big impediment to closing the gap is a provision that would clear the record of any resident who had been convicted of possessing between up to 5 pounds of weed.
Some lawmakers long considered possible supporters of the bill think that number is too high, four sources familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media.
But if leaders change it, they risk losing the backing of other lawmakers who want the provision included, according to the sources.
It’s a conundrum that could stop the bill cold — at least until the end of the year. Murphy, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin are trying to come up with a solution, the sources said. [Read more at NJ.com]