The full New Jersey legislature will take up legalization of adult use of cannabis in the Garden State in the coming weeks after measures passed in two committees in a widely covered joint hearing of the House and Senate on Nov. 26.

While more work needs to be done, advocates took a breather from pondering the challenges ahead and issued upbeat statements. “This was a historic vote,” Kate Bell, general counsel of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) tells Freedom Leaf. “It’s the first time it’s gotten this far in New Jersey.”

In a hearing attending by hundreds of spectators, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved S-2703 (sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Scutari) by a 7-2 vote with four abstentions. The Assembly Appropriations Committee cleared A-4497 (sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano) cleared by a 6-1 vote with two abstentions.

New Jersey appears poised to become the first state legislature to allow retail sales of cannabis to adults.

The measures next go to the full chambers for debate and a vote. Lawmakers meet in their first full session on December 17, but it’s unclear whether the bills will come up for a vote then. Unlike other states, the New Jersey legislature

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