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N.J. legal weed bill’s final votes stalled again because of last-minute changes

State lawmakers on Thursday advanced legislation that would launch a legal marijuana industry in New Jersey, but the plan to get it through both houses of the Legislature Monday fell apart because of differences between the Senate and Assembly bills.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved the legislation (S-21/A-21), 8-4, Thursday after nearly three hours of testimony. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee voted 8-4 with three abstentions to pass the legislation just before 6 p.m.

But the bills that emerged from committees did not match one another, as the Senate committee voted to remove a provision that would limit the number of licenses for growers in the marijuana industry’s early years and made a few other changes.

The sponsors of the legislation in both houses will have to work out agreements to pass full floor votes and move it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk for his signature.

“We are reviewing the Senate’s amendments,” Kevin McArdle, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, said in a statement Thursday evening. “We have no further comment at this time.”

They had hoped to hold voting sessions to pass the legislation next week, but without total consensus, the legislation will be delayed again. Senate President Stephen Sweeney late Thursday canceled the Senate voting session for Monday. [Read More @ NJ.com]

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