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Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Corrado, Bateman oppose marijuana legalization bill

By Nikita Biryukov, March 18 2019 2:29 pm

State Sens. Kristin Corrado and Kip Bateman intend to vote no on the marijuana legalization bill backed by Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney, eliminating two potentially-crucial Republican votes the bill may need to pass in the legislature’s upper chamber.

“I’m a no for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is we haven’t seen a bill yet, so I’m still a no,” Corrado said, adding that she received a 165-page bill 10 a.m. Monday, a handful of hours before a public hearing on the matter.

“Of course, you don’t have time to dive into it and dissect it,” she said.

Amendments to the bill were still being drafted by the time hearings on the matter in either chamber of the legislature were scheduled to begin.

Bateman and Corrado were viewed as possible swing votes on marijuana partly because they crossed the aisle during last June’s budget fight to help Sweeney pass the legislature’s budget.

But, Democrats have finally started whipping votes on the marijuana bill, and they’ve been reaching out to Republicans, Corrado said.

While success whipping Republicans might prove rare, it’s possible that one or two votes from the minority caucus will be all the bill needs to reach 21 votes, and at least one Republican vote may prove attainable.

State Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said Monday that he remains undecided on the bill, though he said he would require a specific set of demands to be met before he’d vote in favor of marijuana legalization.

“They know what they need from me,” O’Scanlon said.

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