TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s Democrat-led Assembly passed a bill to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

The assembly voted 65-5 with six abstentions Thursday, sending the bill to the Democrat-led Senate.

The measure comes after lawmakers failed to get enough votes in March for a measure legalizing recreational marijuana.

MORE: Marijuana Legalization: New Jersey Legislature Backs Off Push, Sends Pot To Polls In 2020

Under the medical marijuana expansion, the number of licenses for cultivators would increase to 23. Currently, there are six treatment centers in the state, with six more planned.

The measure also sets up a five-person commission to oversee the program. Currently it’s overseen by the Health Department.

The legislation also makes it easier for patients to access cannabis. Under current law, only doctors can authorize the drug, but the measure permits physician assistants and some nurses to authorize its use.

Earlier this month, Senate President Stephen Sweeney announced he would push a bill to expunge the records of people with marijuana offenses without legalizing recreational pot. Many questioned how this was possible if it’s still a crime.

A new expungement bill, sponsored by Democrats, would reduce penalties for marijuana possession up to two ounces, making it a civil citation.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. John Thomas says:

    So when will it be considered by the Senate, and what are its chances?

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