Gov. Phil Murphy wouldn’t say Thursday whether his lobbying efforts on marijuana legalization had actually flipped any Democratic no votes.
“I think we’re moving people, but I don’t know that I — I can’t give you a precise answer, but we’re making progress and that gives me some optimism,” Murphy said when asked if he could name any legislators who had moved on the issue as a result of his whipping.
Though Murphy, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker reached an agreement on marijuana legalization weeks ago, the bill’s chances of securing approval on the floors of both chambers on the legislature Monday appear grim.
Eleven Democratic senators either oppose or are undecided on marijuana legalization.
Sources have told the New Jersey Globe that Sens. Bob Andrzejczak (D-Middle), James Beach (D-Voorhees), Fred Madden (D-Washington), Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Ronald Rice (D-Newark), Nia Gill (D-Montclair), Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge), Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus), Brian Stack (D-Union City) and former Gov. Dick Codey (D-Roseland) currently oppose marijuana legalization.
Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) is a soft no and is expected to vote against the legalization bill if it does not secure the 21 votes it needs to pass in the senate.
Legislative leaders have scheduled floor votes on the legalization bill for Monday, giving them just four days to rally the votes they need in both chambers, but given the lack of clear progress, it’s seeming more and more likely that the state’s legalization efforts will be delayed once more.
“I would just say this: We are making progress, period,” Murphy said when asked again about the success of his lobbying efforts. “I don’t want to get into the details. I’m cautiously — I wouldn’t even say that — I’m an optimist by nature. We are not there yet though. We are not there yet. We have to move a number of chess pieces still in both the Assembly and the Senate, and it’s going to take all of us collectively to do that.”