Seaside Heights pushes back against new marijuana laws
The new laws legalized the
use of the drug for adults. Underage users will receive a warning if
caught, without authorities telling their parents on the first offense.
passed the mostly symbolic resolution in a unanimous decision,
highlighting the problem areas the marijuana law creates for law
enforcement. Borough leaders say if it's not repealed, it will have
particularly negative impacts on all Jersey Shore communities.
The resolution says
Senate Bill 3454 added the language of how police officers handle minors using
marijuana, and subsequently alcohol, in the last hour, and did not represent
what the voters chose as they overwhelmingly supported the legalization of
New laws say
police cannot use odor of marijuana or alcohol to stop a minor suspected of
Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz says
while the town is supporting legal marijuana, it leaves their police with no
way to enforce the law without facing criminal prosecution, as the law
“They need to
really have a game plan moving forward how, they're going to address this issue
and they need to be able to address, otherwise the boardwalk and beaches might
look and smell a lot different this summer," says
Supporters of the
law say the police enforcement rules are intended to remove racial disparities
in arrests among young people. Senate Republicans are working to draft a new
law for what they say is a much-needed immediate fix.
Seaside Heights is
the first town at the Jersey Shore to pass a resolution calling for the repeal.