New Jersey is one step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana use after the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Assembly Appropriations Committee each approved the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Act after a four hour joint hearing on the bill.
The Senate Committee passed the bill 7-4, with two abstentions.
Monmouth County’s senators on the committee came down on different sides as Senator Vin Gopal (D-ll) voted in favor of the bill and Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) voted against.
O’Scanlon, on twitter, said that proponents of legalization of have not yet made their case while he criticized some opponents of legalization for their “hyperbolic contentions of anarchy and destruction.”
I voted “no” today not because I accept the hyperbolic contentions of anarchy&destruction voiced by many, but because of the reasonable concerns expressed by some.The supporters of legalization make solid arguments.They care about our kids too. They just haven’t closed the deal. https://t.co/6xsfDlVV0f
— Declan O’Scanlon (@declanoscanlon) November 26, 2018
The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted to advance the bill 7-3-1.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden was in Trenton to testify against the bill while urging the legislators to amend the bill to provide law enforcement with sufficient resources to train officers as Drug Recognition Experts. Noting that 9-1-1 fees are diverted by Trenton, Golden urged a dedicated source of state funding for the increased demands law enforcement anticipated by legal marijuana.