New Jersey police have arrested more than 6,000 people for low-level cannabis possession despite voters approving legalization reforms last November, according to a state judiciary report outlined by NJ.com. In January, police arrested 2,378 people for possessing less than 50 grams of cannabis, an increase from the 2,125 people arrested for possession in November and 1,703 arrested in December.
Prior to the November 2020 vote, police in the state arrested more than 100 people a day for possession, the report says. Shortly after voters approved the legalization bill state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal directed all prosecutors to hold off on trying low-level cannabis crimes but the guidance stopped short of prohibiting arrests.
The low-level possession arrests come as lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy attempt to come to an agreement on legalization bills required by the ballot initiative, which was approved by 2.7 million Garden State voters. The Legislature has approved a bill to enact the reform; however, Murphy has so far refused to sign it, seeking a companion measure to ensure there are penalties for underage use and possession.