The number of marijuana-related arrests and summonses plummeted in New York City in the first quarter since the state’s legalization law took effect, data released by NYPD shows.
While it might not seem surprising to see arrests drop following legalization, the decline was far more significant than those seen in other jurisdictions that have previously ended cannabis prohibition—and it likely has to do with a unique aspect of New York’s marijuana law that allows for public smoking.
What was once considered a stain on his record is now proving to be a blessing in disguise for Somerset resident Alex Stone, in the newly established recreational cannabis market in New Jersey.
“Upon getting my felony [for possession], my wife left me, I lost my kids — arguably I was a millionaire and I lost everything,” Stone told PIX11.
Newly adopted regulations released this week give priority to applicants with past cannabis-related criminal offenses, among other criteria.
It’s now opening a door to opportunity in the Garden State for the entrepreneur.
When New Jersey legalized adult-use months ago, equity received widespread attention — and it is an issue in legalization efforts now pending in the Pennsylvania legislature.
In the context of marijuana legalization, equity encompasses many issues, such as seeking to remedy the societal damages from the War on Drugs, which incarcerated tens of thousands of non-white individuals and left many more with arrest records that hinder chances for economic, educational, and employment advancement.
Gifting is lawful between adults 21 and older under New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis law, but a number of businesses are allegedly taking advantage of that policy by giving away “free” cannabis products to those who purchase other items like snacks and baked goods.
No retail marijuana businesses have been licensed since the state enacted recreational legalization earlier this year, which followed voter approval of a reform initiative during the November 2020 election. Licensing regulations still need to be developed before adult-use shops can open.
A Maryland appeals court has ruled police officers can no longer stop people based on the smell of marijuana alone, further limiting when the distinctive odor can justify police actions.
In a decision issued this week, Maryland's second-highest court found that a whiff of marijuana does not give police a legal reason to stop and investigate someone.
Police need "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is being committed before they can detain someone for even a short period of time.
During the meeting, commission member Sam Delgado, a former Verizon executive and retired Marine Corps Reserve Combat Communications Officer, was elected as the group’s vice chair.
“I will strive to ensure that this commission runs and operates with the same level of professionalism, diligence and commitment that we expect from our industry operators,” Delgado said, who then recalled a story about the time he was arrested in 1975 for marijuana possession in New York.
So even as we make progress, I still can’t bring myself to rejoice yet. In the days after the 2020 election, news articles and social media posts celebrated the legalization of recreational cannabis in multiple states: Montana, Arizona, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Then in late 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. (The bill remains stalled in the Senate.) But while decriminalization and legalization are the first steps toward equality, they are not a complete solution.
Parents must be notified if their minor child unlawfully possesses or buys marijuana under a bill lawmakers advanced Wednesday, not even a month since Gov. Phil Murphy signed cannabis legislation that explicitly prohibited parental notification.
The measure appears to be on a fast track, coming after concerns that the law left parents in the dark. Spokespeople for Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and Senate President Steve Sweeney said they support the measure, and Murphy, a fellow Democrat, said earlier this month that he supported the idea of parental notification.
“I believe it makes our jobs as police officers much more difficult.,” Newton Police Chief Robert Osborn said. “Most concerning though is the fact that if you find a juvenile with alcohol or marijuana, it does not allow our agency to legally tell the parent of this initial contact.”
Another feature of the new law is the spotlight shone on penalties for police if civil rights are violated. Something police have “always known to be aware of,” according to Sparta Police Chief Neil Spidaletto.
Law enforcement officials aren't pleased with certain aspects of New Jersey's new cannabis laws. That's particularly true for Wyckoff Police as it pertains to how they deal with minors now that weed is legal.
Police Chief David Murphy penned a letter to township parents this week detailing the new mandates as he sees them. Most notably, Murphy balked at the idea that his officers can't make a call to parents if a minor is caught with weed for the first time.