NJ Politics Digest: Legal Weed Sales Won’t Begin Until 2020

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney. Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

State Democratic leaders have reached an agreement to move forward with legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but that doesn’t mean New Jersey residents will be able to light up anytime soon.

Senate President Steve Sweeney has said that it likely won’t be until January 2020 that legal recreational marijuana dispensaries will begin operating in the state, according to a report by Politico.

While Sweeney, Gov. Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin have agreed the state will impose a tax of $42 per ounce on recreational marijuana, there is still no agreement what sort of tax local governments will charge, Politico reports. And there’s still no guarantee the plan will receive the needed votes in the state legislature, as several prominent Republican and Democrats opposing legalization and instead favoring decriminalization.

Quote of the Day: “I’ve got to tell you guys, honest to God, the bill isn’t finished,” — Senate President Steve Sweeney on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use.

Gov. Murphy Signs Expanded Paid Family Leave
Workers in New Jersey will be able to take twice as much time off after childbirth or to care for a sick family member under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Tuesday that expands the state’s paid family leave program.
The Record Read more

Congressman Josh Gottheimer, Local Leaders Address Voting Rights Protections
Rep. Josh Gottheimer and local community leaders discussed ways to protect the voting rights of the disenfranchised in the wake of a North Carolina investigation that found evidence of fraud committed on behalf of the Republican candidate, Mark Harris.
The Record Read more

NJ Backs Suit Against Trump Administration Policy That Denies Access to Asylum at Border
New Jersey joined a coalition of states this week in supporting a lawsuit alleging that U.S Customs and Border Protection has unlawfully prevented migrants from applying for asylum at ports of entry at the southern border.
The Record Read more

Sweeney: Gov. Has Three Weeks to Reach Terms on Homeless Aid
Gov. Phil Murphy temporarily escaped a potentially embarrassing veto override by his own party by agreeing to work with Senate Democrats on legislation to provide emergency housing aid to some of the neediest New Jerseyans.
NJSpotlight Read more

Senate Passes Sweeney Bill That Aids Insurance Industry, Norcross
On Thursday the Senate passed a bill that relaxes the standard of care insurance brokers must meet on behalf of their clients when they sell, solicit or negotiate health benefit plans in New Jersey, a clear victory for the state’s insurance industry.
Politico Read more

Truck Traffic Surges on Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Drops at George Washington Bridge
Next time you’re on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, glance to the left. Now, the right. Check the rearview mirror.
The Record Read more

Bill for New Retirement Savings Option Goes to Governor
A bill to start a retirement savings plan for workers whose employers do not offer plans passed the state Senate on Thursday.
Press of Atlantic City Read more

18 Hate Groups Are Menacing NJ but Their Numbers Are Dwindling, Group Says
Every year when the Southern Poverty Law Center issues its list of so-called hate groups, New Jerseyans are reminded that hate and racism are alive in the Garden State.
NJ.com Read more

Menendez and Booker, From Newark and the Senate to a Corruption Trial and 2020
When Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey was on trial in 2017 for federal corruption charges, he watched from the defendant’s chair as the state’s junior senator and his close friend, Cory Booker, testified about his character.
New York Times Read more

Murphy Opens His Home to Raise Money for Booker
A year after his own election, Gov. Phil Murphy spent last fall on the campaign trail on behalf of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez and the House Democratic candidates who picked up four Republican-held seats.
NJ.com Read more

Makeshift Memorials Would Be Cleared After 15 Days
At the corner of Harrison Avenue and East State Street in Camden, a collection of stuffed animals, love letters, and more than five dozen candles weathers the snow and rain in memory of Nerreada Robles.
Inquirer Read more

Another NJ College Opens Food Pantry for Students and Public, No Questions Asked
Not all four-year college students follow the same path. Some live on campus, some commute. Some get a meal plan, some do not.
NJ.com Read more

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Amsterdam Honeymoon ‘Bed-In’ Was Crashed by a NJ Teenager
Purposeful, businesslike, and starstruck, Alisa Cooper picked up a house phone in the lobby of the Amsterdam Hilton and asked to be connected with John Lennon.
Inquirer Read more

Toms River Won’t Call Rise-Up Anti-Jewish, Denounce It as Hate
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, is calling upon the Toms River Township council to follow the lead of two other Ocean County government agencies and denounce the group Rise Up Ocean County at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday.
NJ101.5 Read more

Bill Pascrell Out as Passaic County Counsel
Passaic County Freeholders are replacing Bill Pascrell III as their county counsel after 21 years, according to five sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
New Jersey Globe Read more

How One NJ Town Is Trying to Improve the Commute to New York City
Commuting to and from New York as a New Jersey resident means a long trip both ways and plenty of frustrations over ticket prices, delays and getting home late in the evening. But one township is looking to make the burden easier on its residents.
NJ.com Read more

‘This Is a Big Deal’: Murphy Joins Growing Effort to Restore Your Property Tax Deduction
They’ve gone to court. They’ve spoken out. They’ve even developed new ways to get around the rules.
NJ.com Read more

Editorial: To Fix NJ Transit, the Governor Needs to Solve His Fiscal Problems
It was one year ago when Gov. Murphy pledged that his fiscal 2019 budget would “nearly triple funding to NJ Transit—an additional $242 million investment to get the agency back on its feet,” and crowed that this would send “a strong signal that a better day and better service (are) coming.”
NJ.com Read more NJ Politics Digest: Legal Weed Sales Won’t Begin Until 2020