NJ Politics Digest: Monday’s Legal Weed Vote Outcome Uncertain

A vendor weighs marijuana buds.
A vendor weighs marijuana buds. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Gov. Phil Murphy made legalizing recreational marijuana use a central campaign pledge. Though he was unable to fulfill that pledge during his first year in office, the legislature is scheduled to vote on the plan Monday. But it’s still uncertain whether or not the governor, whose party controls both the state Senate and Assembly, has the votes needed to win legalization, according to reports.

It hasn’t been for a lack of trying. Murphy has reportedly been working the phones since last week trying to win opponents over. As NJ.com reports, going into the weekend, Murphy was still four or five votes short of the 21 he needs in the Senate. And while the governor might have the votes he needs in the Assembly, the lower house won’t risk the political payback of supporting the measure if it isn’t guaranteed to pass.

InsiderNJ reported that on Friday, bill supporters were “quietly preparing for defeat.”

While polls have shown that about 60 percent of New Jersey residents favor marijuana legalization, there is a strong core of opposition among some Senate Democrats, and the governor and his allies didn’t do themselves any favors by rushing the measure through the committee process, all but blocking public input.

But there is still a chance the measure will pass. Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney have had the weekend to make calls and make deals. It will likely be evident early in the day when word gets out if the legislature will vote or pass on the plan for another day.

Quote of the Day: “We’re not giving up,” — an unnamed source, on state Democratic leaders trying to wrangle votes needed to pass legislation legalizing and taxing recreational use of marijuana.

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NJ Politics Digest: Monday’s Legal Weed Vote Outcome Uncertain