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Home / US / Why the delay on legal grass? Murphy and Sweeney point their fingers at the final support

Why the delay on legal grass? Murphy and Sweeney point their fingers at the final support



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It's mid-October, and one of the priorities since January for Governor Phil Murphy and US Senate President Stephen Sweeney is a law that legalises marijuana for people 21 and over in New Jersey still the subject of tedious private negotiations.

This week, Sweeney, D-Gloucester and Murphy, a Democrat colleague, have made some transatlantic forefingers over who is responsible for the delay.

Sweeney said NJ Advance Media has not yet got the necessary 21

votes to pass the legislation in the 40-member Senate, and some of the holdouts are members of his own party.

"The governor must help, it's about time he tried to push the votes," Sweeney said. "He has influence on a handful of senators who firmly oppose this at this time."

When asked to respond to Sweeney's remarks during a trade mission to Germany on Friday, Murphy replied that he was waiting for Sweeney in one direction.

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"He and I had a good conversation a week ago – eight days ago – and he said, 'I need you to give me some votes, we're not there yet And I said, "You give me the list, and I'm all in it," Murphy said.

"I did not get a list, but I'm really glad to do that," the governor said, "we are basically, two people who have a common goal and are trying to get over the goal line. "

Sweeney said he told the governor he thought the votes were correct.

" But if he has a list I'll write it down for him, "he said.

Democrats and marijuana industry sources privately vote for the no votes that could possibly be convincing, including Sens. Nia Gill, D-Essex, Shirley Turner, D Mercer, Richard Codey, D-Essex and Nicholas Sacco, D-Hudson.

Sweeney also acknowledged part of the problem, as there are two unresolved legislative issues, backed by Senator Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, and he hated to continue with hearings until a compromise with the Murphy government is reached. He declined to discuss the sticking points.

But three sources familiar with the negotiations said Sweeney would not agree to set a sales tax rate of more than 12 percent to persuade people to buy marijuana illegally. Murphy wants a higher tax rate, but he has not said publicly what he is willing to accept.

The two sides also differ in terms of the power that would be given to a newly created cannabis commission to control the licensing of other aspects of the new industry, the sources said.

Sweeney said he is optimistic that the negotiations will take place.

"If all three branches of government (administration, senate and assembly) intervene, we will vote."

Susan K. Livio can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio . Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.


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