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State Sens. Joe Lagana and Brian Stack will back marijuana decriminalization.
According to a New Jersey Globe tally, that brings the number of state senators who opposed legalization but are backing decriminalization up to nine.
State Sens. Declan O’Scanlon, Robert Singer, Ronald Rice, Linda Greenstein and former Governor Dick Codey are also backing the measure, which Democrats are seeking as a stop gap while they await a vote on a 2020 legalization ballot measure.
Two other Democratic senators, Paul Sarlo and Dawn Addiego, are leaning towards supporting decriminalization.
Another Democratic senator, Nia Gill, declined to comment on her stance on the issue.
Though a number of decriminalization bills have been introduced over the last year, a final version of the stop-gap bill has not yet been posted, and it’s possible that possession limits in the final version will be lax enough to dissuade some of the more pliable yes votes.
O’Scanlon and Singer, for instance, said they would not support decriminalization if it allowed for the same five-pound possession limit included in an expungement bill that has languished in the legislature for months.
There is no clear timeframe on decriminalization yet, though a Senate Majority source told the New Jersey Globe it’s possible the issue will be handled during the lame duck session.
It’s possible some of the 16 Democratic senators who backed legalization in March will balk at the weaker marijuana measure, though that possibility is becoming less and less relevant as an increasing number of senators who opposed the same announce their support for decriminalization.