New Jersey recently made the news when they introduced the new marijuana legalization laws and bill. While the goal of the bill is to reduce racial disparity among marijuana users and legalizing the use of recreational marijuana, it had a few controversial points.
The Controversial Parts of the Bill
The specific part of the bill that drew negative attention is regarding the part that prevents officers from stopping underage people who are in possession of alcohol or drugs. Police officers would be met with third-degree charges if they detained an underage person or illegally searched them for possession of alcohol or weed.
While the initial bill only included the decriminalization of weed, the governor added in a last-minute point to also reduce charges associated with underage alcohol usage.
What Is Included in the New Bill?
The new bill, which is being called the O’Scanlon and Bucco Bill, would take away the potential for third-degree charges of police officers unless they acted in a way that is discriminatory. The bill prevents police officers from intimidating or discriminating against persons based on their race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Police officers who discriminate based on these criteria could be met with a $15,000 fine or even up to 15 years of jail time. Many fear that as the bill stands, police officers will be afraid to do their jobs, due to the possibility of being legally charged. They believe that it will lead to an increase of underage persons with weed and alcohol possession.
This isn’t the only part of the bill that is controversial. The bill also includes a part that prevents police officers from notifying parents of a child’s first offense. Instead, they must first be given a warning. By the time parents are notified of the child’s legal troubles, they have already received a warning.
What to Expect Going Forward
We will have to wait and see what happens with the current bill, or if the governor will instead take on the O’Scanlon and Bucco Bill. In the meantime, if you, or your child, is dealing with criminal charges, it is important to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Drug crimes carry with them, heavy fines and the potential for jail time.
New Jersey’s Current Laws
Even with the decriminalization of weed in New Jersey, you can still be arrested for possession or use of it. Recreational weed is legal, but having more than six ounces can lead to charges. Additionally, any use of weed is still illegal for underage users, although the details on when a police officer can stop you are still undecided.
It is important to note, that it is still not yet legal to buy or sell marijuana in New Jersey because the state has yet to issue any licenses. The laws around marijuana use are still unclear as they are constantly changing. If you have any questions, it may be beneficial to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer.
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Drug Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with drug charges in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio have successfully represented clients charged with drug charges in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057, as well as an office located in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.