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More than six out of ten New Jersey adults (62%) support legalizing small amounts of marijuana for person use, while 32% oppose it.

Shiva statements on Weed

By David Wildstein, March 25 2019 1:53 pm

Senate President Steve Sweeney
“While we are all disappointed that we did not secure enough votes to ensure legislative approval of the adult use cannabis bill today, we made substantial progress on a plan that would make significant changes in social policy. Governor Murphy has shown real leadership in driving this issue.  He worked with Speaker Coughlin, with me and with the bill’s sponsors and social justice advocates in a shared commitment to change failed drug laws and reform the criminal justice system.  This fight is not over.  We need to learn from this experience and continue to move forward.   While this legislation is not advancing today, I remain committed to its passage.  The Senate was very close to 21 votes and, with more education and advocacy, I believe we will get this legislation across the finish line.”

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin
“I’m disappointed that the legislature was not able to secure sufficient support necessary to approve the adult-use cannabis, medicinal marijuana and expungement bills today, but this is still a historic day. We moved closer to the goal than ever before. Today does not mark the end of the process and effort. I remain committed to enacting the legislation. I appreciate the support of the Assembly Caucus for the bills and look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Senate President to pass this landmark legislation which will serve as a national model. I want to thank the Governor, the Senate President and the Assembly sponsors of the measure for their commitment to the issue and their staunch advocacy.”

Assemblymen Jamel Holley (D-Roselle) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Paterson) and Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City)
“An opportunity for a clean slate for someone who has committed minor offenses is the best thing we can do to enable them to seize the opportunities life presents them.  I remain firmly committed to moving this bill alongside legislation concerning the legalization of adult-use cannabis. It is critically important to correct the wrongs of the past as we now look forward to the future of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey.  Expanding definitions and creating a process for residents to clear their name and their record has to be a part of, a critical part of, cannabis regulation.”

Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action president Kevin Sabet
“The pot industry told everyone legalization was inevitable in deep-blue New Jersey and today’s rejection proves them wrong again. Lawmakers in New Jersey heard the pleas of parents, health professionals, law enforcement and others and blocked this bill. The chairman of the State Senate’s Black Caucus, Senator Ron Rice deserves credit for his leadership to prevent Big Marijuana from targeting, exploiting and victimizing minority and low-income communities. Those legislators who opposed legal weed demonstrated the kind of leadership New York’s legislators should seek to emulate. Legalizing marijuana is not about freedom or social justice. It’s about greed and commercializing another dangerous substance that will harm our communities. With New Jersey’s action today, New York would still be the first state to legalize the drug by legislative action, instead of public referendum. That’s not the kind of history our elected officials should be making.”

New Jersey Cannabusiness Association president Scott Rudder
“This is a disappointing day but over the coming weeks and months the NJCBA and advocates across the state will continue to work on educating those who still doubt the numerous benefits of legalization. We believe we see light at the end of the tunnel and that it is a matter of when, not if.  That said, the fact that we have gotten this far is historic. It is a testament to the amount of work put in by supporters, advocates and legislators. While we await a vote in the Senate and Assembly, we will continue to hope for expansion of the state’s medical program. Thousands of people suffering from a variety of ailments must have greater access to medical cannabis. NJCBA looks forward to working with advocates, the business community and the governor to ensure this happens.”

Assemblywomen Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth), Britnee Timberlake (D-East Orange) and Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City), and Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-Roselle)
“We remain committed to enacting fair and responsible legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in New Jersey. We have listened to the will of the majority of New Jerseyans and taken a common-sense approach to regulation of cannabis. We’ve placed the necessary focus on expungement for cannabis offenses within this bill and created a new, more expedited process for residents to request expungement.  Undoubtedly, this is the largest regulatory undertaking the state has considered since the casino commission. We are proud of what we have accomplished with this legislation. Remaining at status quo meant continued disparity in arrests for African Americans and teens for amounts now to be considered personal use.  We are moving the state in a direction more compassionate for cannabis and in line with what is happening across the country in regards to legalization.  Our work is not done. We will continue to work with Speaker Coughlin, our colleagues and advocates to pass a bill that will be a model for the nation.”

State Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Branchburg)
“The decision by legislative leaders to cancel today’s planned votes on marijuana legalization is reflective of the significant concerns that exist among both Republicans and Democrats with current proposals.  As a parent, I’m concerned about the impact that increased access to marijuana would have on our youth. As a legislator and prosecutor, I have unanswered questions about enforcement costs and our ability to keep our roads safe from impaired drivers. I truly believe there is bipartisan support for significant marijuana reforms, including the expansion of our medical marijuana program and decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Unfortunately, we were presented an all or nothing proposition on some poorly structured bills, which doomed the potential for achieving significant marijuana reform from the start.”

State Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Newark)
“I agree with Senate President Steve Sweeney that we should have learned a lesson about the process of legalizing recreational marijuana, which is much different than medical marijuana. The public has not properly been educated on the topic of recreational marijuana. People don’t realize, particularly people in urban communities, how it will affect their lives. In urban communities, neighborhoods will struggle against the spread of ‘marijuana bodegas’ disguised as dispensaries.  We should be pushing for legislation on the decriminalization of recreational marijuana. We should be promulgating for it, especially if it’s not about money and all about social justice like the Governor says it is. I believe if we put together a decriminalization bill, it will receive 120 votes in the Legislature. This is what we should be putting our time and effort into passing.”

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