New Jersey to Pause Prosecution of All Cannabis Cases
New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal wrote in a letter to municipal prosecutors they should seek an adjournment of all cannabis-related offenses until at least September 4, 2018, NJ.com reports. Grewal is seeking the adjournment so that his office can develop appropriate guidance for prosecutors regarding cannabis offenses, but the move effectively decriminalizes cannabis possession in the state of New Jersey.
Some speculate Grewal’s move is tied to a state Senate bill that could legalize adult-use cannabis. The legalization bill is sponsored by state Sen. Nick Scutari, D-Union. It’s expected to be considered in September as well.
New Jersey has the second highest cannabis arrest rate nationally, second only to Wyoming. This move is expected to cause a major shakeup in the state budget as well as change outcomes for a sizeable portion of the state’s population.
The letter from Grewal today follows a drama last week in Jersey City, where that city’s prosecutor Jake Hudnut attempted to downgrade some cannabis charges and dismiss or divert others. Grewal’s office responded quickly to Hudnut’s move and issued a statement saying that Hudnut did not have the authority to decriminalize. The Mayor of Jersey City, Steve Fulop, quickly issued a statement backing Hudnut. The legal snarl reached an impasse and this week’s move by Grewal seems to have resolved the issue.
“In adjourning all marijuana cases across New Jersey while a directive is prepared, Attorney General Grewal has put himself at the national forefront of progressive prosecutors. I am looking forward to working closely with him in the coming weeks on this directive, as well as on other issues affecting all of our state’s municipal courts.” — Jake Hudnut, Prosecutor for Jersey City, New Jersey, via NJ.com