State Sen. Joe Pennacchio won’t be voting in favor of marijuana legalization.
On Monday, he called on Gov. Murphy to back off of his push to make recreational adult-use marijuana legal, claiming marijuana legalization would endanger communities in the state.
“It is absolutely shocking to see people who have taken an oath to serve the public ignore organizations like the American Medical Association and the New Jersey Police Chiefs, who continue to oppose this policy,” Pennacchio said. “I am also astounded by my colleagues’ blatant refusal to acknowledge the myriad of medical studies showing the detrimental health impacts of legalizing marijuana.”
Democrats in Trenton had been pushing a marijuana legalization bill, but they didn’t have the votes needed to pass the package of legalization bills in the Senate.
NJ Advanced Media reported last week that Murphy will meet with Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on Thursday to try to find a path forward for the suite of marijuana bills and a measure to push the state’s minimum wage to $15.
Even if that meeting ends up being productive, Democrats in the Senate may still end up jockeying for a handful of votes in the Senate, and they might end up needing help from a handful of the chamber’s Republicans.
Pennacchio has made it even clearer he’s not a target for that sort of lobbying.
“I have been speaking out against this for years,” Pennacchio said. “I remain staunchly opposed to legalizing marijuana because I believe that our number one responsibility as elected officials is to protect our constituents from harm.”