A New Jersey bill to decriminalize marijuana was amended Thursday to lessen the penalties for hallucinogenic mushrooms, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
A bill to decriminalize marijuana was passed unanimously in a New Jersey Senate Committee Thursday, along with an amendment added by an unnamed senator that lowered the penalties for possessing psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. (RELATED: New York Times Retracts Report That New Jersey Democrat Won House Race After Republican Gains 20,000 Votes)
— New York Post (@nypost) November 13, 2020
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee passed the bill without any discussion or debate, according to the report. Under the new law, there are no criminal penalties for possession of up to 6 ounces of marijuana, and the amendment downgrades possession of up to an ounce of psilocybin from a third-degree felony to a disorderly persons offense. New Jersey voters initially voted in favor of legalizing marijuana November 3.
Democratic State Senator Nicholas Scutari told the Inquirer that he is “100% in favor” of the mushroom amendment.
“I think most drugs should be decriminalized or at least downgraded to something less than a felony for personal use,” he said. “You just saw Oregon downgrade heroin and cocaine. We’re not doing that.”
About 60% of voters in Oregon approved a measure Tuesday that decriminalized possession of “non-commercial” amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs. Meanwhile, Arizona legalized marijuana, and Washington, D.C. legalized hallucinogenic mushrooms.
New Jersey State Senator M. Theresa Ruiz, who sponsored the original marijuana decriminalization bill, said that she was “not happy with the entirety of the bill,” the Inquirer reported.
“But it’s a compromise,” Ruiz said. “At least we’ve accomplished something. New Jersey is beginning to right its wrongs.”
“We have to make sure that when we create the next frontier that we’ll have reparations and the opportunity to take someone from the street corner to a storefront,” she added.
The bill will now go to the New Jersey Senate floor for a vote sometime early next week, where Senate majority whip Scutari said he expects it to pass. It will then go to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy if approved.