A Deal on Marijuana Legalization May — Or May Not — Be Imminent

NJTV News | February 21, 2019 | Social
Lawmakers appear to have resolved problems with proposed legislation, but not all are convinced of the wisdom of legalization

While a potential deal on marijuana legalization apparently is imminent in the State House, the outcome depends on some big maybes, not least of which is whether Gov. Phil Murphy can whip some votes.

“I am told, and we have read hundreds of times that the governor of the state of New Jersey is the most powerful chief executive in the land and he’s going to need to use that to help the Senate president, and myself and the speaker to get us some votes,” said Sen. Nick Scutari (D-Union), who has been a driving force behind the legalization effort.

Lawmakers have agreed to a flat tax of $42 per ounce, a switch from a percentage of the sale price previously envisaged. They’ve also agreed the governor will appoint three of the five members to the Cannabis Control Commission.

But not every legislator is as keen as Scutari. Newark’s Sen. Ron Rice, for one, said he’s “still a no.” In a statement Tuesday, he said, “Every day there is new information about why we shouldn’t do this.”

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