Though legislators soundly sent legalization and decriminalization bills to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk last month, the governor has yet to sign it, concerned over a lack of penalties for underage use.
The two camps reached an agreement on a cleanup bill that would limit youth enforcement to curbside warnings and stationhouse adjustments — essentially talks with police officers — but that measure died when Senate sponsors pulled their support after members of the Legislative Black Caucus warned the bill would negatively impact youths in Black and Brown communities.
It’s not clear whether lawmakers have changed their view on those penalties
“I can’t answer that. We haven’t had any conversation this week about it at all, with the Legislative Black Caucus, any officials,” said Wimberly, who is the first prime sponsor of the decriminalization bill and a prime sponsor on the legalization bill.
But other alterations may reduce resistance among lawmakers, namely language changes that specifically bar police from searching minors after smelling marijuana.
“There was an issue concerning stop and frisk,” Wimberly said. “But I think that was addressed with smell is not probably cause to search a minor in particular.”