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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for William Hill Race & Sports Bar

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Monday signed three bills to legalize and regulate marijuana in the state, following years of failed attempts by the legislature.

Why it matters: The bills will enact a ballot question that voters overwhelmingly approved last year, allowing people older than 21 to legally carry up to six ounces of marijuana.

  • The bills also allow for the sale of marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries.
  • New Jersey is the 13th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Murphy's signature comes after a standoff between him and the legislature, during which Murphy declined to sign the bills unless the body established penalties for people under 21 who are caught with marijuana.

  • The legislature ultimately did so with 20 minutes left for Murphy to sign two of the bills.

What he's saying: "Our current marijuana prohibition laws have failed every test of social justice, which is why for years I’ve strongly supported the legalization of adult-use cannabis," Murphy said.

  • "Maintaining a status quo that allows tens of thousands, disproportionately people of color, to be arrested in New Jersey each year for low-level drug offenses is unjust and indefensible."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Several states report zero COVID deaths for the first time in months — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects — 600,000 kids between 12 and 15 have received Pfizer dose since FDA authorization.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021 — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2

Angela Merkel (left) with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany, according to two sources briefed on the decision.

Why it matters: The decision indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline, and underscores the difficulties President Biden faces in matching actions to rhetoric on a tougher approach to Russia.

Prosecutor: Fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. was "justified"

Khalil Ferebee (C), the son of Andrew Brown Jr., and attorneys Bakari Sellers (L) and Harry Daniel (R) at a May 11 news conference in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

A North Carolina prosecutor said Tuesday that the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by sheriff's deputies last month, was "tragic" but "justified," due to the immediate threat officers believed Brown posed.

Why it matters: The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Brown's death. Police in Elizabeth City shot him five times, including in the back of his head, according to an independent autopsy report released by family attorneys last month.

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