It seems Governor Phil Murphy is delaying signing the cannabis enabling and decriminalization 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 that he has been talking to Sweeney and Coughlin to iron out the issue.
That means he wants another decriminalization bill to pass.
Decriminalization 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 decriminalization bill that hurts minors will be fundamentally racist. 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. That’s especially true when seeking to go to college and get a job. It 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. Cannabis sponsor Nick Scutari (D-Union) has been saying if the bill does not pass, it will cause a “constitutional crisis.” The referendum is supposed to be implemented on Friday, New Year’s Day. Without the guidance of the cannabis legalization bills, it will cause a crisis. 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.