Approximately a month ago, a vote in the New Jersey senate on a bill to legalize recreational cannabis was postponed after it was realized that the bill may not have enough support among the senators. Now Gov. Murphy has given the legislators up to the end of May to pass the bill or he would use his executive powers to expand the medical cannabis program.
Insiders say that the biggest sticking point is the matter of who qualifies to have their cannabis-related criminal record expunged.
The bill sets the marijuana possession limit at 5 pounds if someone is to have their criminal record erased. Some lawmakers are suffering from “sticker shock” at that number because they think that such a high limit will allow hardened drug dealers to benefit from this law.
However, supporters of the law say that the 5-pound marijuana possession limit is fair, and many of the people who qualify to have their records expunged have already served their jail sentences.
The supporters therefore say that it is hypocritical for New Jersey to collect money from recreational marijuana while continuing to “punish” those who were convicted for possessing the same marijuana that the state is collecting taxes from.
The advocates say ex-convicts should have a chance to rebuild their lives by getting jobs, buying homes and doing any other thing that other residents can easily do without being encumbered by a criminal past related to cannabis possession.
This now sets up the state for a classic catch-22 situation because the framers of the marijuana legalization bill may never convince other senators to support the bill if the limit remains at 5 pounds while some supporters will jump ship if the limit is lowered to accommodate what some Republicans and even Democrats are demanding.
It is believed that the bill needs 1-4 additional votes to pass. Those four votes are turning out to be a huge mountain to climb, yet the clock is ticking on the deadline set by the Governor who came to office having promised to legalize marijuana within his first year at the top.
If a vote doesn’t take place by end of May, then it may be pushed to December after new lawmakers are elected. For now, the Senate leader and other top leaders are scrambling to find a solution to the impasse so that the law can be passed as soon as possible.
The cannabis industry, including Global Payout Inc. (OTC: GOHE) and Golden Developing Solutions Inc. (OTC: DVLP), is holding its breath hoping that a solution is found quickly so that the intended beneficiaries of the law don’t have to wait for longer than is absolutely necessary.
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