Parents may be able to learn if their child is in trouble after-all for smoking weed, drinking
Parents, you have been heard by towns, police and lawmakers here at the Jersey Shore and the pushback against the new Marijuana bill signed by Governor Murphy appears to have built up enough momentum for a possible repeal of the law after all.
Point Pleasant Beach Police Chief Joseph Michigan, Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz (R) and Administrator Chris Vaz, Monmouth County Commissioner Tom Arnone (R) and the Commissioner Board, Senator Michael Doherty (R) and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R) are among those at the Jersey Shore and beyond voicing concern and opposition to the Marijuana reform law which cuts off communication between police and parents on a juveniles first offense and criminalizes police officers.
Last week, Assemblyman Bramnick introduced legislation urging Governor Murphy to repeal this part of the Marijuana law.
“Handcuffing law enforcement from notifying parents if they find a child using drugs or alcohol is irresponsible and dangerous,” Bramnick (R-Union) said in a statement. “Parents should know if their children break the law. Leaving parents out of the equation has nothing to do with social justice.”
Now, Monmouth County Senator Vin Gopal (D), Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D) in the 11th District are working alongside Senator Dawn Addiego (D-Burlington) and Senator Joe Lagana (D-Bergen) to introduce legislation with a goal of amending P.L.2021, c.25 and require parental notification upon the first violation of underage possession or consumption of alcohol, cannabis item, marijuana or hashish for individuals under the age of 18.
Right now, the law states that parental notification is only required at the second incident.
“While New Jersey has made recreational Marijuana legal in the state of New Jersey, it is still illegal for minors to possess or consume it. If a minor is caught with these substances, we want their parents to know about it right away. The State cares about a child’s wellbeing, and we want to take every step possible to make the first offense the only offense. Keeping parents involved in these matters will help do just that," Senator Gopal and Assembly Members Houghtaling and Downey said in a joint statement.
The legislators said they've received support from some Monmouth County clergy and community leaders on their proposed bill.
“Even though marijuana has been legalized, you cannot take the parents right away to know if their child has been using marijuana or alcohol,” Long Branch NAACP President Lorenzo ‘Bill’ Dangler said in a statement.
“I fully support parental notification if a minor is apprehended with alcohol and/or cannabis. Parents are required according to biblical principles to raise children to be law-abiding citizens.” Bishop Paul Brown, First Pentecostal Assembly of God, Neptune, New Jersey, said in a statement.
Jersey Shore towns wary of what may be coming this summer with Marijuana now legal are trying to get ahead of it and push for change before it's too late.
On Wednesday, the Seaside Heights Council passed a resolution calling for a repeal of Senate Bill #3454, that prohibits police and parent interaction on a first offense and the section that would charge police officers with a 3rd Degree Crime for Civil Rights Depravation.
"The public is entitled to pass the law and okay, they passed it but now when they write the bill, they made it so hard for police officers to do their job. I mean, in terms of the safety of the public, they weren't thinking," Seaside Heights Mayor Tony Vaz tells Townsquare Media News. "This bill has to be repealed, we're not only going to have problems in Seaside Heights but every Shore community is going to have problems."
"It is particularly critical to Jersey Shore communities that Senate Bill No. 3454 be urgently repealed. This is not a debate about the legalization of recreational marijuana. The voters of New Jersey spoke very clearly on that issue when they approved Public Question #1 in November," Seaside Heights Business Administrator Christopher Vaz tells Townsquare Media News. "The problem we face is that the Legislature approved a law that makes it virtually impossible to keep marijuana off our beaches and boardwalks, especially in the case of underage persons. And for some unknown reason, completely out of left field, the Legislature decided in the same law to protect underage persons from any type of reasonable enforcement involving underage possession of alcoholic beverages. Parents of underage persons should be appalled by the Legislature’s overreach. Lastly, the Legislature actually criminalized the good faith actions of law enforcement officers. We need to ask ourselves, what law enforcement officer is going to enforce a law that subjects the officer to 3-5 years in prison? This law was adopted without any public transparency and must be repealed in the interest of protecting children and ensuring that law enforcement officers are able to do their jobs without fear of criminal repercussions."