AG: NJ prosecutors can't categorically refuse marijuana cases

<p>New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the state's prosecutors cannot categorically decriminalize marijuana but can use discretion when pursuing such cases.</p>

News 12 Staff

Aug 30, 2018, 12:45 AM

Updated 2,100 days ago

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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says the state's prosecutors cannot categorically decriminalize marijuana but can use discretion when pursuing such cases.
Grewal announced the new, nearly nine-page guidance for municipal prosecutors Wednesday.
The document comes after he ordered a pause in marijuana prosecutions about a month ago. That order came in light of the Jersey City prosecutor's decision to decriminalize cannabis in the state's second biggest city.
Grewal says the new guidance came about after a review of the issue by prosecutors and stakeholders, including the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and elected officials.
Under the guidance, prosecutors can't adopt a wholesale policy of refusing to seek marijuana convictions. But the guidance says they may use discretion in each case.
The ACLU says in a statement, “...this guidance illuminates why marijuana legalization through the legislative process is so urgent. We applaud the Attorney General for recognizing the devastating impacts that a marijuana charge can have on individuals and their families.”
The statement continued, “But, guidance can only go so far – we need a change in the law itself to bring justice.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop last month signed an order decriminalizing marijuana in the city. But Grewal pushed back. He said that Fulop did not have the authority to make that call.
Senate President Steve Sweeney says that he has the votes to pass legalization legislation. He says that he just needs a bill to consider.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.


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