Hours of deliberations recently ended with two New Jersey legislative committees advancing a cannabis legalization bill on to the next steps towards for legalization in the state. A full vote by the highest level of state Legislature is scheduled for the last week of March.
If the bill is passed the last requirement needed for the state to procure the full legalization of cannabis is a signature of approval from Democratic Governor, Phil Murphy.
Earlier reports stated that the Assembly and Senate were both short on pro-votes. However, Murphy is making his stance more than clear at this point: he is absolutely on-board for the legalization of cannabis in New Jersey. Despite the reports, key leaders of state Legislator are showing confidence that the bill will be passed.
All of the above taken into consideration, one is left wondering, what effects might the legalization of cannabis sales kick-off in the state?
First of all, the full legalization of cannabis wouldn’t allow residents of the state to simply start possessing the herb. The legal process would take up to six months to prepare regulations and allow legal sales to start. This process is in place to discourage the black market operators from trying to profit from the legalization.
Secondly, if, or when, the bill is passed, even medial dispensaries will need to wait an additional six months before they’re legally allowed to sell to the public. They would also need to get state approval that they actually have enough product to begin selling cannabis, to begin with.
That said, there is always the possibility that the bill doesn’t pass. Unlikely, but very possible.
If that’s the case, it would more than likely be due to the Assembly not being able to muster the necessary 41 votes needed as well as the handful of votes still seems lacking in the Senate. Furthermore, the possibility of the bill not passing was seen by the amount of opposition show from Republican lawmakers. Many of which were previously thought to be legislators who’d vote “yes.”
In addition, Stephen Sweeney has come out with the statement that there will not be a ballot for voters to decide on the fate of legal cannabis in New Jersey anytime soon, despite earlier reports stating that if cannabis wasn’t legalized in the spring that the people would get to vote on the matter.
Sweeny also said that if legalization doesn’t happen during March, he’ll have it pushed until November. If that happens, there’ll be no legal cannabis market until well into the middle of 2020 at the soonest.
So, as things stand, with less than a week before the full voting begins, there are still some kinks to work out in order to assure the passing of the bill. For now, when legal pot will be hitting the streets of New Jersey remains a mystery to the state’s residents and lawmaker’s alike.