New Jersey Marijuana Cases Temporarily Halted By Attorney General

By Victoria Kim 07/25/18

The AG's announcement, which will affect thousands, comes at a turning point for marijuana policy in New Jersey.

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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal's decision to suspend municipal marijuana cases is regarded as a step toward decriminalization in the long run. Photo via YouTube

On Tuesday, New Jersey’s attorney general ordered the immediate adjournment of all municipal marijuana cases until September or later.

In a letter to prosecutors, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal wrote, “In the interim, I ask that all municipal prosecutors in New Jersey seek an adjournment until September 4, 2018, or later, of any matter involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court. The adjournment will give my office sufficient time to develop appropriate guidance for prosecutors.”

The announcement, which according to Politico will affect thousands, comes at a turning point for marijuana policy in New Jersey.

Jersey City, the state’s second-most-populous city, was on track to decriminalize marijuana until Grewal voided the attempt last Friday.

Mayor Steve Fulop argued that the city had the right to “amend or dismiss charges as they see fit and decriminalization is the right thing to do as we shouldn’t continue a policy of creating records and ruining a person’s future over small quantities of marijuana.”

But Grewal disagreed, saying the city did not have “the legal authority” to decriminalize marijuana “or otherwise refuse to criminally prosecute all marijuana-related offenses in the municipal courts of Jersey City.”

But despite Grewal’s opposition to Jersey City’s effort, his decision to suspend municipal marijuana cases is regarded as a step toward decriminalization in the long run, according to Politico.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who is known for his support of marijuana legalization, said while decriminalization is “intoxicating,” there are more benefits to full legalization.

“You think it’s a step in the right direction [but] it actually leaves the business in the hands of the bad guys,” said the governor. “Your kids are exposed, it’s not regulated, it’s not taxed. So I’ll leave the specifics of that to the attorney general, but that’s a conceptual answer.”

On Monday, Senate President Steve Sweeney said he would add on efforts to legalize marijuana for adult use to efforts to expand New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, according to Politico.

After meeting with Jersey City officials on Monday, Grewal announced that he will establish a working group to develop guidance for prosecutors by September on how they should proceed with marijuana cases.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr

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