State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Toms River) on Thursday urged Democrats in the legislature to step away from a marijuana decriminalization bill that would reduce penalties for possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms and instead launch probes targeting Gov. Phil Murphy’s virus response.
“The Democratic majorities in the New Jersey Legislature are keeping their heads buried firmly in the sand while Governor Murphy is issuing new executive orders that will hurt many of our constituents without any legislative oversight whatsoever,” he said. “Instead of serving as a critical check on the governor’s executive powers, they are wasting the Legislature’s time with an unnecessary fight over ‘magic mushrooms,’ the outcome of which is inconsequential to most New Jerseyans.”
The mushroom amendment, which according to Politico New Jersey was added by State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, stalled the decriminalization bill’s movement through the Assembly, though it passed the Senate with 29 votes, a number that necessarily includes some Republican defections.
Lawmakers are seeking to pass decriminalization to stop marijuana arrests after voters approved a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use. Such use remains illegal absent enabling legislation, which is the subject of Assembly and Senate committees being held Thursday.
Republicans have long called for investigations into Murphy’s handling of the virus, and while Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) at one point said he favored such hearings, there’s been little since from Democratic leaders to suggest those hearings will happen while the pandemic is ongoing.
“It’s the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result, but that’s apparently what Governor Murphy will be able to do as Trenton Democrats refuse any effort to review his administration’s haphazard and arbitrary response to COVID-19,” Holzapfel said. “It’s yet another sad demonstration of the misplaced priorities of a majority party that has been cemented in power for so long that they no longer feel accountable to the people.”