New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal last week directed all prosecutors to hold off on trying low-level cannabis crimes as lawmakers work on the language of a legalization measure, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
“All New Jersey municipal, county, and state prosecutors are instructed to seek an adjournment, until at least Jan. 25, 2021. … “Fairness and justice require that we, as prosecutors, not move forward with charges that the Legislature may foreclose in the near future. We will provide more comprehensive guidance, including direction on handling of previously adjudicated matters, when the Legislature provides details of the framework for marijuana decriminalization and the legalization of adult-use cannabis.” – Grewal in the guidance via the Inquirer
The guidance does not include driving under the influence and stops short of prohibiting arrests. In a statement following voters’ approval of the measure on Election Day, Grewal indicated that “all of the State’s criminal laws relating to marijuana continue to apply, until, among other things, the Legislature enacts a law creating that regulatory framework.”
“It is important that residents accurately understand the current situation, so they do not inadvertently engage in criminal conduct relating to marijuana – conduct that may be legal in the future once the Legislature acts, but is not presently legal based on yesterday’s vote,” he said in the November 5 statement.
Lawmakers recently tabled the legalization legislation until December 7 as the Assembly and Senate have been unable to agree on how many adult-use dispensaries would be allowed to operate; the Senate appears to favor no limits, while the Assembly favors 37, the report says. Another legalization bill was rejected after an amendment to decriminalize psilocybin was attached to it.
The Legislature has until January 1 to create the framework for the industry before the amendment takes effect.