Monday was supposed to be a big day for New Jersey in the bid to move marijuana legalization forward. However, that wasn’t the case as a vote on a bill that was set to legalize recreational marijuana was called off as there was not enough support from the State’s Senate. Despite the delay in the vote, which now may not happen until May, there’s strong sentiment that the bill will pass and that it’s just a matter of time.
– Senate President Stephen Sweeney
With still a handful of votes short the 21 that were needed to pass the bill, the vote was cancelled and instead pushed over to allow more time to get votes. For the bill to become law, both the Senate and the Assembly need to pass it. And while the Assembly had the necessary votes to approve the bill, the Senate still needed some more in order to ensure that it would go through.
Why it’s Likely We’ll See the Bill Pass Sooner Rather Than Later
There are many incentives to push the bill through and with just a few more votes needed, it doesn’t seem insurmountable.
One of Governor Murphy’s promises was to legalize cannabis and so you can be sure that Democrats will be pushing hard to pass the bill any way possible. The problem is that if New Jersey chose not to legalize marijuana, cannabis users could simply go to nearby States where it is legal. While New York hasn’t legalized marijuana, it’s definitely on the agenda there as well and is also just a matter of time before it happens. Meanwhile, both Michigan and Massachusetts have already legalized marijuana and although they are a bit of a drive away, it gives consumers on the East Coast more options than before.
As more States go to legalize cannabis it’ll be harder for the ones that don’t to say no to it. After all, it could generate a lot of tax revenue for States, and not legalizing marijuana could mean a neighboring States will be collecting those taxes, which likely won’t sit well with lawmakers. It’s definitely an inevitability that we’ll see New Jersey legalize marijuana, and I’d be surprised if it wouldn’t happen at some point this year. With just a few votes standing in the way, it seems like a very safe bet to make today.
Is the Federal Government Next?
The green rush is pushing onward and the more States that legalize marijuana, it’ll also be for the federal government to ignore it for much longer. And with key states like California, Massachusetts and potentially New York and New Jersey on board sometime this year, those are lot of voters at stake for the coming 2020 election. So it should come as no surprise that potential candidates have already expressed interest in legalizing marijuana as it could attract many young voters to the polls and pot could prove to be a big factor in the next election.