Stop stalling on N.J. decriminalize marijuana bill or replace lawmaker blocking it, Senator demands

Outraged by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25 and energized by the wave of rallies in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Democratic state Sens. Ronald Rice and Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation that would no longer treat the possession and distribution of up to a pound of marijuana as a crime.

Then … nothing.

The bill, introduced June 4, has not been scheduled for a hearing — and that falls under the purview of State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Nicholas Scutari, D-Union.

Voters in New Jersey are now less than two months away from the Nov. 3 election, when they will be asked to amend the state constitution and allow adult-use weed to be legally sold and taxed.

On Tuesday, Rice, D-Essex, issued a blistering statement that accused the lawmakers and his fellow Democratic colleagues of deliberate foot-dragging — a move he said benefits the campaign to legalize marijuana.

“I demand that Senate Bill 2535 be considered by the Judiciary Committee immediately or that it be reassigned to another committee and fast-tracked into law,” Rice wrote. [Read more at]