State Sen. Joe Cryan (D-Union) hasn’t moved much on legalized marijuana after voters in Union Township approved a ballot question on whether the township should allow retail marijuana sales within its borders.
“Still going to look at the data, but certainly it’s an influence,” Cryan, who is one of a number of Democratic senators in the maybe column on the legalization measure, said.
The Union question won a narrower-than-expected victory, 54%-46%, in the deeply-blue town. Similar questions in Vineland and Bridgeton were voted down, but those results aren’t as important to Democrats still on the fence about Marijuana.
The results to the Union question might give other legislators reason to think twice about his stance supporting marijuana legalization.
Some district aren’t nearly as blue as Cryan’s, which also includes Democratic strongholds like Elizabeth, Roselle and Hillside, so if the ballot question didn’t secure a landslide victory in Union, how would voters react to other Democrats voting to legalize?
With 2019’s Assembly elections now cresting the horizon, that consideration will be on the minds of Assembly Democrats.
Senators have a bit longer to mull the consequences, but legislative leaders are planning pushing a marijuana legalization bill out of Committee this month, though there’s now public doubt about whether they’ll be able to get the measure through a floor vote this year.
Though, Cryan didn’t think Union’s ballot question would do much to scare off legislators already supporting legalization.
“If people want to vote yes, it gives them a reason to,” Cryan said of the Union vote.
There’s also the question of money. Though groups supporting Union’s ballot measure were not without funds, sources familiar with that fight said marijuana groups did little to support the effort financially. The same can be said of groups opposing legalization.
That likely won’t be the case when a bill comes before the legislature.