Craig Coughlin has just become the 3rd most powerful elected official in New Jersey. Coughlin, a previously little-know Democrat from Middlesex County, was voted by his fellow Democrats on Monday to replace two-term incumbent Vincent Prieto as speaker of the New Jersey Assembly. Coughlin’s election to Number 3 comes at a time where marijuana legalization is at the forefront of everyone’s mind including the newly elected governor who was elected as a staunch proponent of legalization.
Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex, stated at a news conference that he has “not indicated whether or not he supports legal pot.
“I want to make sure it makes sense,” said Coughlin, a member of the Assembly since 2010 . “As with any bill — particularly any bill that would create something new — I think the devil is really in the details. And I think we need to understand it in its totality.” “Even if we’re going to do it, I want to make sure the bill is the right bill,” he added.
Governor elect Murphy has previously said that he wants a bill on his desk in his 1st 100 days. Will Mr. Coughlin be a serious roadblock to getting the “right” marijuana legalization Bill to the desk of Mr. Murphy? Is Mr. Coughlin a serious threat to marijuana becoming legal in NJ in this decade?
Time will tell but no matter what decisions the folks in Trenton make it will up to the citizens of New Jersey to decide on any Bills outcome. As reported by many media outlets, including Weed News , no state legislature has legalized cannabis for adult use in America. All of the 8 states that have legalized cannabis (and Washington D.C.) have done so via the citizen initiative process. All of the states that have legalized cannabis have seen their state legislatures make changes to what voters have approved. In all likely hood NJ will follow this same model and put Marijuana Legalization up vote. A good opportunity for this vote would be in the November 2018 election cycle. This gives Trenton a chance to work out the kinks and get what Coughlin calls the “right bill” approved and ready for the populist vote.