New Jersey Temporarily Suspends Cannabis Cases

While medicinal cannabis laws have been in place in New Jersey since 2010 when then-governor Jon Corzine signed The Compassionate Use Marijuana Act (S119), the journey toward recreational use continues in the state.

Marijuana legalization was a significant element of Governor Philip D. Murphy’s campaign, and just last week, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and municipal prosecutor Jake Hudnut attempted to decriminalize cannabis in the city.

But now, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has distributed a letter to prosecutors in the state requesting that they suspend any marijuana-related cases for at least several weeks.

Following a meeting with Jersey City officials, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal agreed to create a working team of criminal justice stakeholders to draft statewide marijuana policy by the end of August.

“In the interim, I ask that all municipal prosecutors in New Jersey seek an adjournment until September 4, 2018, or later, of any matter involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court,” wrote Grewal. “This adjournment will give my office sufficient time to develop appropriate guidance for prosecutors.”

Governor Murphy, who believes that full legalization is the solution, weighed in briefly on the topic with reporters at Cliffside Park.

“On the surface, [decriminalization] is intoxicating,” Murphy said. “You think it’s a step in the right direction [but] it actually leaves the business in the hands of the bad guys. Your kids are exposed, it’s not regulated, it’s not taxed.”

“I’ll leave the specifics of that to the attorney general,” he said. “But that’s a conceptual answer.”

Though the letter did not specify if cannabis arrests would be put on hold during the period, Grewal is expected to have a statewide directive regarding the appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion in cannabis cases by the end of August.