TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — New Jersey legislative leaders say they’ll vote in the coming weeks on a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana. Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Judiciary Committee chairman Nicholas Scutari unveiled the proposed ballot question on Monday.
They plan for the question to be on the ballot in 2020.
“We will now move forward with a plan that helps correct social and legal injustices that have had a discriminatory impact on communities of color. We can make real progress towards social justice at the same time that cannabis is made safe and legal,” Sweeney and Scutari said in a joint statement.
Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational cannabis.
New Jersey lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy tried earlier this year to legalize the drug with legislation, but the bill failed to get enough support in the Senate.
“My belief that our current marijuana laws have failed every test of social justice and that the right course is to legalize its use by adults has not changed. I am disappointed that we are not able to get this done legislatively and that our failed status quo – which sends roughly 600 people to jail a week for possession, the majority of them people of color — will continue,” Murphy said in a statement. “However, I have faith that the people of New Jersey will put us on the right side of history when they vote next November. By approving this ballot measure before the end of this legislative session, New Jersey will move one step closer to righting a historical wrong and achieving what I have spent more than three years advocating for.”
A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin says his chamber will also vote on the proposed amendment.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)