Lead sponsor of recreational weed bill says he’s ‘losing faith’ in Murphy, weighing ballot vote

By Susan K. Livio
NJ Advance Media

State Sen. Nicholas Scutari, the prime sponsor of the bill to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Jersey, told NJ Cannabis Insider he’s “losing faith” that Senate Democrats and Gov. Phil Murphy will come to an agreement.

The concern is so acute Scutari said he and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney have discussed letting the voters decide by putting the issue on the November ballot that, if approved, would amend the state constitution.

“It’s not my preference,” said Scutari, D-Union, “but I think it might be a lot easier to let the people decide.”

It would likely be easier to win votes in the state Senate and Assembly for a ballot question than an outright vote on legalization, he added.

The state Legislature would need to pass a bill by three-fifths majority to put a question on the November ballot, according to the state constitution.

Scutari said one of the latest compromises Sweeney, D-Gloucester, verbally offered a month ago would let the governor choose three of the five members on the proposed Cannabis Regulatory Commission — without the legally mandated “advice and consent” of the Senate.

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