Shortly before a vote Monday on a measure to vastly expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, state Assembly leadership put the bill on hold over fears Gov. Phil Murphy would veto it when it got to his desk.
Better to negotiate with Murphy than send him something he’s just going to send back, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said Monday afternoon. But what does the Democratic governor want from the Democratic-controlled state Legislature?
NJ Advance Media has learned that Murphy has sent a memo to the bill’s sponsors and Democratic legislative leaders proposing a handful of changes to the bill, according to several sources close to the negotiations, but who haven’t been authorized to discuss them publicly.
Those sources said that Murphy proposed:
- Expanding the cap on marijuana growers to 36. The bill had limited the number of cultivators to 23.
- Ending taxes on medical marijuana sales within three years. The bill calls for the 6.625 percent state sales tax to last until 2025.
- Allowing the state Department of Health to continue overseeing the medical marijuana program until Jan. 1, 2021, at which point a newly created Cannabis Regulatory Commission would take over.