A Special Monday Edition of InsiderNJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down: the Deferment of Marijuana Legalization


Ronald L. Rice

No, the governor and senate president won’t cut a deal with him to make decriminalization the law of the land. But thanks to the veteran senator from Newark, New Jersey also knows why. There’s no money to be had from Rice’s option. Just sensible public policy.

Craig Coughlin

New Jersey’s perennial adult in the room had the votes to get recreational marijuana done today, but if the assembly speaker was mad as hell over the senate failing to get to 21 he did a good job of not showing it at the post-game press conference.

Mike Doherty

Just like Senator Gerry Cardinale, the Republican lawmaker from the 23rd District voted against releasing marijuana legalization from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Today, it died before supposedly reanimating to rise from the dead. But the real reason Doherty won today was because the Robert Mueller report on Russia failed to prove a conspiracy between Trump and Russia. Mountain man movement conservative Doherty served as Trump’s 2016 state director.

Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman

The 21st Legislative District challengers with Union County support stand to benefit from the general election presence in the contest of declared conservative candidates Martin Marks and Harris Pappas. Incumbent Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-21) intends to spend national contest-sized money to win reelection (with running mate Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz) and maybe Marks and Pappas won’t gain sufficient traction to do damage, but having them hang around fails to do the GOP incumbents any favors.

Donald Trump

The president picked up a win coming out of last week when Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller released his special report on Russia that did not expose a conspiracy between the Trump Presidential Campaign and Russia.


John Currie

The Passaic County Democratic Committee (and Democratic State Party) Chairman is under siege. Not only does he have to stare down a challenge by Essex County Chairman Leroy Jones to his throne of statewide power, but headlines continue to assail his vice chair (Lizette Delgado Polanco) at the Schools Development Authority, and U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) seems irritated that the Freeholder Board tossed his son BP3 as county counsel. But then today, old Currie foe Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale emerged as a Democratic Primary challenger to the man Currie cemented in Speziale’s spot back in 2010: Sitting Sheriff Richard Berdnik. Already in a statewide brawl, Currie was never supposed to be suddenly in a Stalingrad-sized conflagration in his home county. But that’s what is fast developing.

Phil Murphy

He wanted to get recreational marijuana done today and it didn’t pass, exposing the big picture visionary Democratic governor’s enduring Achilles heel: mechanical deficiencies in the Trenton sausage factory.  Anyway, he lives to fight another day on this one, just like…

Steve Sweeney

The powerful senate president couldn’t finally muster the votes to get recreational marijuana done. Why not? Apparently so the legislature can reconvene in a handful of weeks and get it done. So was this supposed to embarrass Murphy? Look, we get it, it’s a tough issue, and few were jumping up and down to get this done right now, but if that’s all this was about, there were some people who were unhappy about having to run around the stage as part of a South Jersey political theater piece; people like…

Nick Scutari

The senator put everything out there for recreational marijuana and didn’t look delighted in that NJTV interview in the aftermath. Scutari just wanted to get the job done, not play politics with a sensitive subject in order to make the governor look bad.

Jon Bramnick

He was already going to have a tough reelection year. Maybe the toughest of his career in territory where Democrats won the mayoral seat in his hometown in 2017 and Tom Malinowski knocked over Leonard lance last year. Now he has the added headache of two conservatives candidates (one a former 2008 Republican congressional candidate and former Scotch Plains Mayor in Martin Marks) thumping their chests in a general election.

Richard Berdnik

Even when Jerry Speziale lived in Alabama, his sheriff’s office successor Berdnik lived with the irritating thought of Speziale making a comeback. Now, apparently, that moment has arrived, as the former sheriff wants to challenge Berdnik in a Democratic Primary, a move that will divide Passaic County and pit longtime Democratic Party allies against each one another. Spotted at the Levine Foundation’s Beefsteak Dinner of over 1000 people in the Brownstone on Monday night? Former Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres, the man who brought Speziale back to Paterson, released early from prison. When Uncle Floyd introduced Speziale to the crowd at the Brownstone tonight (below), he referred to him as “sheriff.”

Floyd and Speziale.
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