New Jersey Lawmakers Vote To Put Marijuana Legalization Question On 2020 Ballot

New Jersey Lawmakers Vote To Put Marijuana Legalization Question On 2020 Ballot

While many, including marijuana advocates and some lawmakers, were optimistic that recreational adult-use weed in New Jersey would be legal in 2019, that’s not the case. The official vote has to wait until next year.

Politicians couldn’t agree on the specifics of proposed bills earlier in the year. In the end, it was decided that the issue of broad cannabis reform would go to voters instead. On December 16, New Jersey lawmakers approved a resolution that places a referendum on legalizing cannabis on New Jersey ballots in 2020.

The Senate voted in favor of the measure with a split of 24-16. The Assembly followed with a supermajority vote of 49-24. The supermajority status eliminates the need to vote again on the proposal next year. The Senate also adopted a resolution that urges Congress to establish safe dosing standards for products containing CBD.

Governor Phil Murphy (D), who actively participated in cannabis reform negotiations with the legislature, expressed confidence that the voters will approve marijuana legalization next November. Meanwhile, Gov. Murphy said he would work with lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana possession after 80 years of prohibition. And that’s a step in the right direction. Murphy has also engaged other regional lawmakers about how to coordinate their respective cannabis markets cohesively once legalization is enacted.

Critics, including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which works solely on marijuana policy reform in the United States, say the legislature’s actions are bittersweet. The MPP would have preferred adoption of the comprehensive 147-page legalization bill, which would have legalized cannabis in New Jersey sooner than the end of 2020, and implemented social equity provisions to benefit those harmed by prohibition into the state’s regulatory framework.

About Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on marijuanareferral.com, marijuanamerchantaccount.com and marijuanainsuranceagent.com.