There won’t be a vote to authorize adult-use recreational marijuana in the New Jersey legislature on Oct. 29.
State Senate President Stephen Sweeney acknowledged he didn’t the votes during a press conference on an unrelated topic Monday.
“The administration has got to be a part of this. This is a big lift,” said Sweeney. “I need help. I need to get to 21.”
Twenty-one is the number of votes needed to pass a bill in the Senate; 41 votes are needed in the Assembly.
“I’m confident that when we post the bill we will have 41 votes,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.
The bill will most likely get pushed back to December. November presents obstacles with the election and then the League of Municipalities annual meetings.
Even before Sweeney’s statement Monday, it was growing increasingly unlikely that a vote would occur.
The latest obstacle to the legislation was an unrelated investigation of a sexual assault allegation involving an official in the Murphy administration.
“These things have a tendency to suck up all the air in a room,” State Senator Nicholas Scutari told philly.com.
In addition to the pending investigation, neither the Senate nor the Assembly has committee hearings or votes on the schedule.
“Governor Murphy remains committed to legalizing adult-use marijuana, a critical step in eliminating racial disparities in our criminal justice system,” according to a statement an administration spokesperson provided to patch.com. “The governor is committed to working with the Legislature to legalize adult-use marijuana the right way, one that makes the state fairer, prioritizes the safety of New Jersey residents, and ensures that some of the economic benefits go the communities hardest hit by the war on drugs.”
Issues still to be resolved are the tax rate, which department will oversee the cannabis regulatory commission and how expungement of marijuana possession cases will be handled.
Sweeney is still optimistic the legislation will pass.
“If we didn’t put a date on it, if we weren’t pushing, we would be talking about this next October,” Sweeney said.