Legalization deadline extended after Murphy hesitates on signing
TRENTON — A deadline set for Monday for Gov. Phil Murphy to act on legislation establishing a recreational marijuana marketplace has been extended.
Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on Friday moved the procedural deadline to Feb. 18.
Coughlin said his chamber, the governor and the Democrat-led Senate are making progress on changes to a bill lawmakers passed just before Christmas.
Murphy was expected to sign the legislation, which could have led to a marijuana marketplace in about six months for people 21 years of age and older. But he has so far declined to sign the bill, even though he had signaled his support for it.
The governor hasn't gone into detail about why he hasn't acted on the legislation, which he earlier indicated he supported. He said, though, that he wants to be sure that young people, particularly people of color, don't get “tangled up in our criminal justice system.” He also noted that the constitutional amendment approving recreational marijuana, which voters overwhelmingly approved in November, authorizes cannabis use only for those 21 and older.
“Those principles have been inviolate," Murphy said recently. “They’ve been there from moment one, they remain there and we’ve just got to find a way. We’ve had constructive engagement back and forth."
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