New Jersey lawmakers weigh legalizing marijuana

by Jan Hefler, Staff Writer

The Inquirer

Photo: JESSICA GRIFFIN Colorado State Rep. Dan Pabon speaks.

TRENTON — The first New Jersey legislative hearing on the legalization of marijuana held since Gov. Murphy took office — after he promised his support — unfolded Monday before more than 100 people.

More than a dozen experts traveled from as far as Colorado and Massachusetts to office advice on legalization, a topic gaining traction after Murphy, a Democrat, replaced Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican adamantly opposed to it, in January.

Several lawmakers are working on legalization bills, but none has come up for a vote and some legislators say they are trying to get a consensus.

Joe Danielsen, chairman of the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee, said he called the hearing because legalization is an issue “of great concern to the public.”  He said the committee would be “starting with a blank slate” and listening to ideas from experts for and against, and from the public.

Danielsen, a Democrat, said he will hold three other hearings around the state.  In South Jersey, a hearing is tentatively scheduled for April 21 at Rowan University.

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