New Jersey Lawmakers Cancel Vote On Legalization Bill

A vote on a cannabis legalization bill was scheduled to take place in the New Jersey legislature on Monday, March 25, but lack of support has led to the vote being canceled.

Lawmakers were set to vote today on SB2703, a bill to legalize cannabis for adults over the age of 21 and create a regulatory commission to oversee the medical and adult-use industries.

Also known as the ‘New Jersey [Marijuana Legalization] Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act,’ the 176-page bill would also create expungement options for people with certain past cannabis convictions.

“Like many other states, New Jersey has suffered from disproportionate impacts of drug enforcement in minority communities, and this legislation will help rectify inequities of the past,” wrote Representative Donald Payne Jr. on Twitter last week. “New Jersey is ready to move forward, and it’s time for the state’s leaders to get behind it.”

But lawmakers canceled the vote after it was apparent that the bill did not have enough support in the Senate to pass.

SB2703 co-sponsor, Senator Stephen Sweeney [D] expressed his disappointment to NJ Advance Media about the vote’s cancellation but said that the issue is not going away and that they had made progress on a plan that would significantly change social policy.

“I’m disappointed, I think we’re making headway,” said Sweeney in a Monday press conference. “I think we’ve learned a few lessons about the way we approached it.”

Even though SB2703 receive a vote today, co-sponsor Nicholas Scutari [D] was optimistic that more the bill would gain more support as they continue to work toward getting the 21 votes needed for its passage.

It is currently unclear when another vote on SB2703 could take place, but it might not happen until after the November elections.