New Jersey may have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, but that doesn’t mean it’s coming anytime soon.
“Could it take up to a year? I think it could,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday. “The medical establishments would like to expand their operation sooner than that.”
The state still has to pass enabling legislation for legalization. State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden), the chamber’s chief marijuana backer said that bill could be introduced Thursday. It hasn’t been introduced at time of writing, but could come in the next three hours, he said.
It’ll look similar to the legalization measure Democrats tried to pass last March, though he said he’d removed caps on the number of marijuana facilities in the state that were in the older bill.
Scutari said he was dissatisfied with the state’s existing facilities, citing low marijuana supplies that may prove the biggest hurdle to retail marijuana.
In any case, Murphy’s team is on board.
“I look forward to working with the legislature to swiftly pass enabling legislation that will set up a regulatory framework for adult use marijuana,” the governor said. “And as a reminder, until we enact that enabling legislation, recreational marijuana remains illegal under our state law.”
Scutari said he doesn’t expect the enabling legislation to face any trouble in his chamber. Last year’s pass at legalization died after failing to win support from enough Democrats in the Senate, but the referendum passed with the backing of more than two-thirds of voters, winning majority support across the state.