Legal weed for N.J. takes a huge step forward. We now expect final votes next week.

New Jersey on Monday took another big step toward legalizing recreational marijuana, as two state legislative committees approved a new weed bill, setting up historic votes in the full state Legislature next week.

The committees took hours to vote after lawmakers wrangled over last-minute changes to the measure behind closed doors at the Statehouse in Trenton.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the bill with a vote of 6-4, with one abstention, just after 8 p.m. The state Assembly Appropriations Committee approved it in a 6-2 vote, with two abstentions, about an hour earlier.

Lawmakers also approved a separate expungement bill and a medical marijuana expansion bill.

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