New Jersey just decriminalized marijuana,until the beginning of September. These laws are all over the place, legal or not? Decisions need to be made.
New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir Grewal requested all municipal prosecutors adjourn all marijuana offenses until Sept. 4 while office develops "appropriate guidance," according to NJ Advance Media.
Just a week after there was a back-and-forth between Grewal and Jersey City officials, announcing their own plans in decriminalization of marijuana — charging those caught with marijuana possession with fines violations akin to a traffic ticket and dismissing others.
In a scolding letter sent the next day, Grewal told Jersey City municipal prosecutor Jake Hudnut that he did not have the "legal authority" to decriminalize marijuana.
Progress toward New Jersey marijuana legalization, at one point anticipated to happen as soon as July 1, slowed down during budget talks last month but is expected to heat back up near the end of the summer.
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While a number of prominent Democrats, including Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester, support legal weed, it faced considerable backlash from legislators on both sides of the aisle.
In a statement, New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Scott Rudder called Grewal's action "great and welcomed news for the state.
"The Attorney General and Murphy Administration’s action are a huge leap forward in the ongoing effort to bring legal recreational cannabis and expansion of medical cannabis to New Jersey," Rudder said. "Coupled with continued progress in the Legislature, there is renewed hope that legalization and expansion will occur sooner rather than later."
During his gubernatorial campaign last year, Murphy made legal weed a major campaign platform, citing the wide disparity between white and nonwhite marijuana offenders, despite similar usage rates.
Speaking with reporters last week after a bill signing in Long Branch, Murphy reiterated his opinion that full marijuana legalization was the only solution he'd consider.
“The problem with decriminalization is it leaves the business in the hands of the bad guys. It leaves our kids exposed, and it leaves it unregulated and untaxed,” Murphy said. “That’s not the first reason we want to legalize marijuana for adult use … But if you’re going to do it, and the state can earn some money, let’s do it a smart way.
“This is one where we all want to do it, but we want to do it right. There’s a lot of harmony to try to do it sooner rather than later, but we have to do it right,” he said