Last year was big for cannabis in New Jersey, though not nearly as big as it could have been.
The state saw a substantial increase in the size of the medical marijuana program, both regarding patients and potentially the number of dispensaries. But New Jersey still missed out on recreational marijuana, when this time last year legalization seemed a real possibility.
The next several weeks will be revelatory for the future of legal weed in the state. If lawmakers can sit down and hash out the more excellent details of legalization, it’s possible that Gov. Phil Murphy could sign a bill by February.
From the time Murphy took office in January of 2018, the state seemed on the cusp on legalization. The governor had promised it in his campaign, his election gave Democrats control of all branches of state government, and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, introduced a bill early last year to legalize the possession and personal use of marijuana, as well as create a regulated market.
By late November there was enough agreement on legal weed for the Scutari bill — heavily amended throughout the year — to pass legislative committees in both the state Senate and the Assembly. All it needed then was approval in the full chambers of the state Legislature and a signature from the governor.
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