New Jersey

New Jersey Puts Temporary Hold on Marijuana Cases Until September

What to Know

  • New Jersey’s Attorney General announced Tuesday the state has put marijuana cases in all municipal courts on hold until at least Sept. 4
  • According to a report, the AG says the cases were put on hold to allow his office to come with an appropriate guidance for prosecutors
  • The Attorney General's statement did not say if arrests for marijuana possession would also be put on hold, according to a report

In a decision that will impact residents and defendants alike, New Jersey’s Attorney General announced Tuesday that the state has put marijuana cases in all municipal courts on hold until at least Sept. 4.

A memo sent by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal recently to municipal prosecutors asking them to seen an adjournment until Sept. 4 or later of any matter “involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court" — allowing time for his office to develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors.

Grewal's statement did not mention in his memo to municipalities if arrests for marijuana possession would also be put on hold.

“This is a huge win for Jersey City, the state of New Jersey, and most importantly the people who would have been impacted by the creation of a criminal record due to a simple marijuana arrest,” Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said in a statement regarding temporary hold on marijuana cases.

On July 18, Fulop and Chief Prosecutor Jake Hudnut announced that Jersey City would dismiss simple marijuana possession cases that come before the municipal courts or amend these charges to local ordinance violations, effectively decriminalizing marijuana in Jersey City.

“We are excited that Attorney General Grewal and Jersey City found common ground, avoiding the collateral consequences of convictions for marijuana possession while our great state is on the cusp of legalization,” Fulop Continued.

It was that Jersey City memorandum titled "New Marijuana Decriminalization Policy" that lead Grewal to conclude that the Municipal Decriminalization Memorandum  "was an improper exercise of a municipal prosecutor's authority" and subsequently issued a letter rendering it "void and without legal effect."

In Tuesday's memo to municipalities, Grewal said that he plans to "convene a working group of criminal justice stakeholders — including the Hudson County Prosecutorand the Chief Municipal Prosecutor of the City of Jersey City — to study the issue and advise me on possible solutions."

In a statement, New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Scott Rudder said the decision of imposing immediate adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal court “is great and welcomed news for the state, as it addresses one of the critical issues of this debate: social justice. The Attorney General and Murphy Administration’s action are a huge leap forward in the ongoing effort to bring legal recreational cannabis and expansion of medical cannabis to New Jersey.”

This is the latest marijuana-related motion to come out of New Jersey. Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy's administration announced that the state is looking to add six new dispensaries to expand access to medicinal marijuana, doubling the state’s medical marijuana program.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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