After months of false starts and delays, New Jersey took a big step Monday toward legal weed, with state lawmakers advancing a bill that would legalize the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana.

Committees from both the state Senate and Assembly approved the bill, which now awaits a full vote in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature before it could be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

After nearly four hours of debate in a hearing room packed with about 200 people, the bill cleared the Senate budget committee, 7-4 with two abstentions, and then Assembly budget panel, 7-2, with one abstention.

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Payton Guion ~ NJ Advance Media via NJ.com ~

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