Key N.J. senator, once opposed to legalizing marijuana, is ‘leaning yes’
One of the most strident opponents in the state Senate to legalizing marijuana said Thursday he is now “leaning yes,” and predicted enough Democrats will change their minds and make one of Gov. Phil Murphy‘s top priorities a reality.
Political insiders have said the “adult use” marijuana legislation has enough support in the 80-member Assembly to pass, but the reluctance of a handful of Democratic senators has stalled negotiations all year.
Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex and a prime sponsor of a companion bill to expand the state’s medicinal marijuana program, said he is likely to vote yes to legalizing weed for people 21 and older.
“In the end, the pros will outweigh the cons,” Vitale told NJ Advance Media.
Earlier this week, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said he expected the long-awaited public hearing on the legislation to occur Nov. 26.
Sweeney has said he would not allow the bill to proceed until he knew he had a minimum of 21 “yes” votes, and preferably within his own party. Vitale’s support could be a sign the Senate is closing in on that number.