NEW YORK — To anyone who figured the path of legalizing recreational marijuana use ran along blue state-red state lines, a sudden setback for pot advocates in New Jersey may show the issue isn’t so black-and-white.
Leaders in solidly-blue New Jersey are vowing it will still become the 11th state to legalize the drug. But when a state Senate vote was abruptly put off Monday because it didn’t have enough support, the delay was a reminder that the politics of pot legalization aren’t purely partisan. The key question instead can be whether voters or legislators are making the decision, experts say.
“It’s a good illustration that even in a state that’s entirely Democratically controlled, it’s not obvious that it would be passed — or that it would be easy,” says Daniel Mallinson, a Penn State Harrisburg professor who studies how marijuana legalization and other policies spread among states.