Key New Jersey lawmaker: Legislature may try again to legalize adult-use cannabis

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

New Jersey lawmakers may take one last stab at legalizing recreational marijuana.

“I’m not going to give up trying,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney told

“We’ll make one more run at it,” the Democrat told the publication.

Sweeney, a longtime MJ backer, pulled the plug on the effort in May when it became obvious that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, Sweeney and others couldn’t garner enough votes to pass the legislation.

If another effort is made, it would come toward the end of this year or early next year.

If lawmakers don’t change the law, they likely will float an initiative for the 2020 ballot.

Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, and New Jersey cannabis attorney Bridget Hill-Zayat told Marijuana Business Daily in June that legislative action is preferable to a ballot initiative.

Both noted that a ballot initiative would be a constitutional amendment, which would be more difficult to change than a law.

An initiative also might leave more open questions about how to regulate and administer a commercial program.

Rudder and Hill-Zayat also noted pressure is building from other rec cannabis states such as Massachusetts and Illinois to do something before the 2020 elections.

If other East Coast states consider legalizing adult use in the next year, New Jersey may be compelled to move more quickly on legalizing rec marijuana.