New Jersey puts temporary hold on marijuana cases
New Jersey's attorney general has announced an immediate adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts statewide until at least September.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recently sent letters to municipal prosecutors telling them about the chance. It asked them to seek an adjournment until Sept. 4 or later of any matter "involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court."
The letter said this would allow the attorney general's office time to develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors. But it didn't say if arrests for marijuana possession would also be put on hold.
But despite the new policy, New Jersey leaders are still mad at Jersey City officials for their new policy of decriminalizing marijuana possession in the city.
Grewal called the move “void and without legal effect.” Gov. Phil Murphy said that he was not a fan of decriminalization, despite his promise to legalize recreational marijuana in the state.
“On the surface it is intoxicating. You think it’s a step in the right direction. But it actually leaves the business in the hands of the bad guys,” Murphy said.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says that the city was in the right to make the policy change. He asks what is wrong with decriminalization if the governor and state leaders are serious about legalization.
"You can't have it both ways. I mean, there's points where the state of New Jersey says ‘We have a differing opinion than federal law’ and they choose to go in a direction that they want to go to,” Fulop says.
Jersey City's police union also weighed in on the matter. In a statement the union says that that it welcomes discussion on how to make criminal justice as equitable as possible. But the union also says "if our members see a law being broken we are duty bound by oath to take action."
Murphy made marijuana legalization a major part of his campaign for governor.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.