Gov. Phil Murphy reiterated his reasoning as to why the legal status of marijuana remains in limbo Wednesday afternoon. He did not offer any new information.
“There are two principles that have guided us on this,” Murphy said. “No. 1: The last thing any of us wants is our kids getting tied up in the criminal justice system, especially kids of color. Secondly, the voters voted to legalize adult-use marijuana. It said it right on the referendum: It’s 21 or up.
“Getting both those principles respected is not an easy process.”
On Tuesday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal officially extended the adjournment of any juvenile or adult cases involving marijuana possession until at least March 31 of this year. Currently, there are two bills sitting on Murphy’s desk unsigned — one would help launch the legal cannabis industry in the state, while the other will halt the arrests that are still being made related to the drug.
Despite the long delay in legalization legislation, Murphy remains confident that a deal will get done.
“I remain an optimist that we’re going to get to a better place,” Murphy said. “I hope sooner, rather than later.”
Other notes from Wednesday’s briefing.
Murphy noted the state’s vaccine rollout had reached an interesting milestone.
“Our dashboard this morning is showing 642,613 vaccinations,” he said. “We have now gotten more shots in arms than we have had confirmed, positive, PCR COVID tests.”
Residents who have to schedule their second doses have been a large concern of Murphy’s administration, as many residents have received their first dose and heard no word of when to come for their second.
To address these concerns, Murphy also announced that, if a resident made their first dose appointment through the state’s vaccine registration site, their second dose appointment has been scheduled automatically. If residents made their first appointment directly with a vaccine site and have yet to book their second shot, they should contact the site they used for the first dose to schedule the second.
Any other concerns can be addressed through the state’s vaccination hotline that opened Monday. The hotline can be reached at 855-568-0545 and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call early: The call center has been overrun with calls since it opened.
The state is reporting an additional 3,950 positive cases from PCR tests and 1,080 positive cases from antigen tests. That makes for a cumulative total of 606,492 and 70,045 cases, respectively.
On Tuesday, 416 COVID patients were discharged from hospitals, while 375 others were newly admitted. In total, there were 69 deaths in hospitals across the state Tuesday, but they are not yet lab-confirmed.
New Jersey is also reporting 107 deaths that have been newly confirmed to be from COVID-related complications. Since March, that makes 19,091 New Jerseyans who have lost their lives to COVID, with an additional 2,129 probable deaths.
Other hospital numbers:
- In hospital: 3,190 (2,969 confirmed, 221 awaiting confirmation);
- In ICU: 578;
- On ventilators: 406;
- Rate of transmission: 91;
- Positivity rate: 62% (from Jan. 23).
Murphy on International Holocaust Remembrance Day:
“Today, we join all nations in remembering the 6 million Jews and millions of others who were senselessly murdered by the Nazis. The memories of those we lost stand as an eternal memorial to the awful power of hate and intolerance. They must be a reminder of the ever-present threat of extremism in our world, and, yes — even in our nation. The ranks of those who bore witness to Holocaust are dwindling, and their stories must not be lost to history.”