FILE - In this June 22, 2017 file photo, marijuana plants grow indoors at Breakwater Treatment and Wellness in Cranbury, N.J. After more than a year of negotiations, mostly behind closed doors, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders said Tuesday March 12, 2019, they've agreed on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana for adults. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

New Jersey comes down to wire on legalizing recreational pot

March 25, 2019 - 10:12 am

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A vote to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey is hours away, but the governor and legislative leaders are still courting lawmakers.

The Democrat-led Senate and Assembly have scheduled votes Monday on the legislation backed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, but its passage is far from certain.

Murphy said last week he's been trying to persuade hesitant lawmakers to back the bill but still doesn't have the votes needed.

Murphy says if the bill fails or falls short, he'd continue to try to persuade people. But it's unclear when another vote could take place.

New Jersey would join the District of Columbia and 10 other states if the measure succeeds.

The bill calls for a tax of $42 per ounce, sets up a five-member regulator commission and would offer expedited expungements to people with marijuana-related offenses.

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