As NJ.com explained, the bill that Murphy signed only a couple weeks ago “removed all criminal penalties and fines for such offenses, replacing them with escalating warnings.” “Under that, the first warning will go to the juvenile only, the second to a parent and the third as a referral to drug education or treatment programs,” the website reported.
A number of lawmakers immediately expressed misgivings with the idea that a minor could get busted for pot without their parents being notified. Last week, a trio of Democratic legislators—State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch), Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey—introduced a bill to change that part of the law.
“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 lawmakers said in a statement, as quoted by New Jersey Globe.
Republican lawmakers have also reacted favorably to the alteration.
“Police shouldn’t be prohibited from telling parents that their child was caught engaging in illegal or dangerous activity with drugs or alcohol,” said GOP state Sen. Anthony Bucco, as quoted by NJ.com.