The state Attorney General’s Office today instructed local prosecutors to either dismiss or adjourn any pending low-level marijuana cases. The directive comes weeks after a super-majority of voters approved a ballot question calling on lawmakers to legalize the adult-use marijuana market.
Lawmakers are continuing to debate multiple pieces of enabling legislation to make marijuana possession, production, and retail sales legal. In the interim, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is directing that marijuana possession related prosecutions be halted. “Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature on the parameters for decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of regulated adult-use cannabis,” Grewal said. “It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action.”
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano praised the Attorney General’s actions, saying: “The consensus of voters is clear. They do not want their fellow citizens targeted, arrested, and prosecuted for possessing marijuana, and these enforcement practices need to cease immediately. Police have already arrested tens of thousands of New Jerseyans in recent years for minor marijuana violations. It is not in the public interest to disrupt any additional lives during what are the final days of this failed public policy.”
According to reporting by NJ.com, some police in New Jersey have continued to make low-level marijuana-related arrests while lawmakers negotiate amongst one another. Legislative hearings and floor votes initially scheduled for Monday were postponed. Lawmakers are scheduled to return to session on December 7th.