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Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Coughlin disappointed by Murphy’s medical marijuana expansion plan

Governor didn’t consult legislators before making Monday announcement

By Nikita Biryukov, June 03 2019 7:38 pm

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin isn’t thrilled about Gov. Phil Murphy announcing a state Department of Health effort to license 108 new marijuana businesses in the state over the next few months.

“I am disappointed by the Governor’s action today,” Coughlin said. “For over a year, the Legislature has worked tirelessly with this administration in an effort to create a responsible and accessible medicinal cannabis market. The Legislature understands the obstacles many suffering from critical and chronic illnesses are facing and will undoubtedly remain committed to move forward with legislation that will expand access to medical cannabis in a safe, accessible, and regulated market.”

Legislators are currently pushing through a bill that would expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

It’s not clear where Murphy stands on that measure — the bill’s prime Senate sponsor, State Sen. Joe Vitale, said he wasn’t sure whether the governor would veto the bill — and lawmakers weren’t celebrating the fact that his administration’s plan seeks to increase the number of marijuana dispensaries without legislative input.

Vitale said the governor had not consulted with legislators pushing medical marijuana bills.

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