A legislative deal to implement a poll measure to legalize leisure hashish in New Jersey has apparently fallen aside over Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s insistence on civil penalties for underage folks caught with marijuana. Voters within the Backyard State approved the measure in the November general election with greater than 67% of ballots solid.
The poll measure, nevertheless, left the main points of marijuana legalization as much as the state legislature. After the state Senate and Common Meeting handed separate payments to implement the measure, Murphy’s workplace proposed a “cleanup invoice” to deal with discrepancies within the payments from lawmakers.
Solely two days earlier than marijuana legalization was to change into efficient on New Yr’s Day, Murphy mentioned that he was working to resolve a “technical but important issue.” The governor then added provisions to impose civil fines for underage possession of marijuana to the laws to a “cleanup invoice” that addressed discrepancies between the 2 measures. Beneath the governor’s cleanup invoice, individuals underneath the age of 21 caught with as much as one ounce of marijuana can be topic to a civil wonderful of $250, whereas possession of 1 to 6 ounces would carry a wonderful of as much as $500.
Final week, it appeared that Murphy and legislative leaders had come to a compromise over civil penalties for underage individuals caught with hashish. However the deal was deserted on Friday when some lawmakers determined that the penalties for possession by younger folks have been nonetheless too harsh. An Meeting vote on the cleanup invoice that was slated for Monday has been pulled from the schedule.
“Within the eleventh hour, the governor has proposed laws that may disproportionately and unfairly harm communities of shade,” Democratic state Assemblyman Jamel Holley, who sponsored the legalization invoice, said in a press release. “The governor can’t maintain laws hostage in an effort to additional goal over-policed communities and place a de facto tax on poor folks whose kids might undergo from drug abuse and habit. This proposal is regressive, draconian, and ethically perverse.”
Again To The Drawing Board
On Monday, Murphy said in a information convention that he’s “nonetheless optimistic we’re going to determine one thing out” on legalizing marijuana however he additionally famous that “we’ve obtained to by some means thread the needle” to fulfill the considerations of all events.
The governor mentioned that he doesn’t need “extra children getting tousled within the prison justice system. None of us need that. Interval.”
However Murphy appeared to carry agency on together with some solution to dissuade younger folks from utilizing hashish.
“This was by no means about legalizing marijuana for our children,” he mentioned.
“That was by no means what this was about,” the governor added. “That’s not what the voters voted on within the referendum. That’s not what we’ve felt strongly and keen about.”
The New Jersey Senate additionally canceled a vote on the cleanup invoice, leaving Murphy the choice of both vetoing the invoice or signing it into legislation because it stands, in response to Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Nicholas Scutari, who withdrew his sponsorship of the compromise measure.
“We’re happy with the invoice that we gave them, and we would like them to take motion on that invoice,” he mentioned.