First pass at legal weed could roll into Statehouse in days, but full vote will require joint effort

Within two weeks, New Jersey lawmakers could finally — finally — begin voting on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

As for whether a final vote will happen by the end of this year? That’s still up in the air.

The top two leaders of the state Legislature said Wednesday they expect legislation making cannabis legal to be voted out of committee by the end of the month. That would be the first legislative hurdle the measure has to clear.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said he’s targeted Nov. 26 for a Committe vote at the Statehouse in Trenton. State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, did not specify a date.

The public would have a chance to speak before the vote.

“We certainly have the votes to get it out of committee,” Coughlin said during a panel of legislative leaders at the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Atlantic City. “We believe we will have the votes when it comes to the floor.”

If the bill does pass out of committee, both the full Senate and Assembly — each of which are controlled by Democrats — would then need to pass the measure before Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who supports legal weed, decides whether to sign it into law or veto it.

That process could take longer.

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