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State Sen. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro). Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Greenstein, Addiego indicate support for decriminalization

Both opposed legalization in March

By Nikita Biryukov, December 02 2019 2:11 pm

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Sens. Linda Greenstein and Dawn Addiego joined five other senators who opposed marijuana legalization are now backing, or will likely back, decriminalization.

Greenstein told the New Jersey Globe she supports decriminalization for simple possession. Addiego said she is leaning voting yes on marijuana but would like to see the final bill before deciding.

A third Democrat, Sen. Nia Gill, declined to comment when asked about her stance on legalization.

According to a New Jersey Globe tally, seven senators who opposed legalization in March are now backing or leaning towards voting yes on a decriminalization bill being considered by top Democrats in Trenton.

Sens. Ronald Rice, Declan O’Scanlon, Robert Singer and former Gov. Dick Codey said they backed decriminalization. The two Republicans said their support was contingent on limits set for non-criminal marijuana possession.

The five-pound limit included in an expungement bill that has been in limbo for months is too high for Singer and O’Scanlon, the only two Republicans that have publicly said they’ll back decriminalization so far.

State Sen. Paul Sarlo told the New Jersey Globe he is leaning towards voting yes on the measure.

In March, Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders fell five votes short of the 21 needed to legalize cannabis in the legislature’s upper chamber.

If none of the 16 Democrats that backed legalization then balk at decriminalization, there’ll be little drama surrounding the law’s passage.

Though a number of decriminalization bills were introduced this year, none have been posted, and it’s unclear whether the final version will be strict enough to secure some of the senate’s more pliable yes votes.

There is no timeframe for the measure yet, but a source within the Senate majority office told the New Jersey Globe it’s possible lawmakers will act on decriminalization during the lame duck session.

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