Governor making 'dozens of calls' to whip support for marijuana bill.

 
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Byline: Jessica Perry

Gov. Phil Murphy has been making "dozens of calls" to lawmakers in both the state Assembly and Senate in an effort to garner their votes in support of a bill legalizing marijuana, a senior administration official told NJBIZ.

The legislation needs 21 votes to pass the Senate and 41 votes to pass the Assembly, and several of the state Legislature's top Democrats said Murphy needs to put in more effort in garnering the votes of lawmakers if he hopes to see a bill on his desk.

It is not clear what the vote count is in either chamber, but a vote is scheduled for March 25.

"I'm all in and I have to be on this," Murphy said at an unrelated press conference in Fort Lee on Monday.

If the legislation Senate Bill 2703 and Assembly Bill 4497 do not pass next week, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, said he would not likely focus on the marijuana bill until the fall, after budget negotiations where lawmakers might use legalization as a bargaining chip.

Lawmakers in both chambers met behind closed doors on Monday to hammer out a series of last-minute amendments related to the expungement process for marijuana convictions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which would have to approve S2703, was scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. but as of 5 p.m. Monday had not done so. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which...

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