It seems Governor Phil Murphy is delaying signing the cannabis enabling and decrim bills because he still wants to penalize minors for cannabis possession.
Sources are saying Murphy doesn’t want to sign the decriminalization bill because it does not penalize minors for possession of cannabis and is delaying singing the bill as a result.
Murphy said that there are “technical but important things we’re trying to wrinkle out on the decrim bill.”
He added he has been talking to Sweeney and Coughlin to iron things out the issue.
That means he wants another decrim bill to pass.
Decrim Bill Issues
People have been speculating why an announcement regarding the signing ceremony has not been announced. Usually, they are perfectly designed photo-ops full of pomp and circumstance shortly after a bill passes.
There has been no announcement since the cannabis bills passed December 17th, and this explains why.
It is surprising Murphy is holding up the decrim bill. The issue of penalizing minors could have come up at any time during the debate but did not.
Some will argue having a decrim bill that hurts minors will be fundamentally racist since the police will likely be arresting Hispanic and Black minors. It’s unclear what sort of penalties they could face.
Many have noted that cannabis crimes hurt youth, especially when seeking to go to college and get a job, and probably leads to turning to more crime.
The enabling bill had to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee twice to cope with the problems caused by the legislators and their lack of consideration of many issues.
There was no reason decriminalization had to be held up until the referendum passed.
It will be interesting to see what happens since cannabis sponsor Nick Scutari (D-Union) has been saying if the bill does not pass, it will cause a “constitutional crisis” since the referendum is supposed to be implemented on Friday, New Year’s Day. Without the guidance of the cannabis legalization bills it will cause the crisis since police will continue to arrest people for possession.
Many are enraged that homegrow was never seriously considered by legislators despite many individuals testifying in favor of it.