Senate Judiciary Committee Moves Bill to Legalize Marijuana

On the heels of a public thumbs up to a ballot question on the issue, the Senate Judiciary Committee today moved S-21, the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act”, which legalizes personal use cannabis for certain adults, subject to regulation by Cannabis Regulatory Commission; removes marijuana as Schedule I drug.

“The public recognizes that ‘marijuana prohibition’ has been a failed policy,” said Senator Scutari (D-Union), who also authored the law creating New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. “We can do away with punitive laws that fall the hardest on minorities and create a regulatory system that ensures the safe use of cannabis products by adults. Legalization will deliver social justice reforms and create a new business sector that produces economic opportunities.”

Following a contentious discussion, here’s how they voted 6-1-3:

Doherty NO (“I would vote for a bill, really small amounts, let’s not destroy their life. But this bill just goes way too far.”).

Cardinale ABSTAIN (said he could vote for it on the floor)


Bateman ABSTAIN (may vote for the final version)

Turner YES (still wants relief and reparations to African American communities)

Singleton YES

Sarlo YES (still has serious concerns about liability and rights of employers and workers, voted “no” in the booth but emphasized


that the people have spoken; thinks legislation in its current form is vague, needs more hammering.)

Ruiz YES (criticized Doherty for using what she described as an “unacceptable” tone of voice with her during cross-examination)


Scutari YES (wants to continue to improve “what I think is already a really good bill”. “You satisfy one end, you piss someone off on the other side.).

The Senate Judiciary Committee also passed the following bills:

A1897/4269 Acs (ACS) Provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly with respect to legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offences as well as broadening awareness of available expungement relief.*

S2535 Provides for certain criminal and civil justice reforms, particularly addressing legal consequences associated with certain marijuana and hashish offenses as well as raising awareness of available expungement relief.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex) today released the following statement about cannabis legalization enabling legislation:

“Last Tuesday, the people of New Jersey overwhelmingly voted to legalize cannabis for recreational use. In crafting the enabling legislation to support this referendum, I am committed to ensuring that we impose an additional user fee on cannabis consumers that will help to reduce the financial burden on New Jersey’s taxpayers and specifically on its urban communities. 

“The legal sale of cannabis will allow us to fairly address issues of criminal justice and provide needed revenue for our state. The enabling legislation will ensure that this money is returned to our communities and that it is distributed fairly.”



Watch Biden’s Speech from Wilmington

Van Drew

Associated Press: Van Drew Wins

Jeff Van Drew
Republican Party


Amy Kennedy
Democratic Party


80% reporting.

Amy Kennedy

Kennedy Inches Closer to Van Drew; Counting Resumes Friday

Amy Kennedy closed the gap to 6,000.

It’s still tough though, a source groaned.

There are 10K VBMs left to be counted in Atlantic and Burlington, and 2K provisionals in Atlantic City.

They’re not counting again until Friday.

BurlCo Sets Voter Participation Record, With 235k VBMs

 As of this morning, there were a total of 235,940 VBM ballots received in Burlington County, a still a moving number since the Postal Service is still delivering ballots and any postmarked on or before Nov. 3 will be counted.

There is no number yet for total provisional ballots yet.

235,940 is a new Burlington County record for voters participating in an election, surpassing 2008’s total of 224,740 voters (208,809 by machine, 13,235 by absentee and 2,696 provisional).

The participation rate in 2008 was 80%, so it remains to be seen if this year will surpass that. The NJ Division of Elections statistics show 347,311 registered voters in Burlington County now.


LaPlaca Bounces Back from 2019 with Lumberton Win

Gina LaPlaca has unofficially won a Lumberton Township Committee seat.

The attorney lost her bid for an LD8 Assembly seat last year, but returned tonight to notch a local win in her hometown and create a 5-0 Dem advantage on the governing body.

Laura Ali

Ali in Morris County: ‘Not so Fast’

The race in CD-11 is over, or is it?

Laura Ali, the chair of the Morris County Republican Committee, says it is “irresponsible” to call a race when many votes have not been tabulated.

“This last week has shown a dramatic uptick in Republican voter turnout throughout Morris County where Republicans have significantly out-performed Democrats,” Ali said in a statement.

Ali added, “Rosemary Becchi is one of the most skilled and talented candidates for Congress that this country has.  She is deserving of a fair and just election where every vote is counted.”

Chairman Mike Suleiman

Suleiman to Van Drew: ‘Not so Fast’

Atlantic County Committee Chairman Mike Suleiman was not ready to raise the white flag.

“It was very presumptuous for him to declare victory,” the chairman said of U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew’s (R-2) statement earlier this evening.

Suleiman blamed operative Craig Callaway.

“A lot of my committee members are ready to take this guy out behind the woodshed,” Suleiman said.

Gottheimer walks a tightrope through tangled impeachment terrain.

Gottheimer Wins

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5) defeated Republican challenger Frank Pallotta.

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