Tuesday, July 24, 2018
New Jersey AG calls for municipal prosecutors to halt marijuana prosecutions amidst work on statewide enforcement policies
As reported in this local article, "New Jersey's attorney general has announced an immediate adjournment of all marijuana cases in municipal courts statewide until at least September." Here is the context:
The decision was included in a letter state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent Tuesday to municipal prosecutors in the state. It asked them to seek an adjournment until September 4 — or later — of any matter "involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court," a move that will allow the attorney general's office time to develop "appropriate guidance" for prosecutors.
Grewal said he plans to convene a working group of criminal justice stakeholders to study the issue and advise him on possible solutions. He intends to issue a statewide directive by the end of next month concerning the scope and "appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion" in marijuana-related offenses in municipal court....
[This letter] came just days after Jake Hudnut, the newly installed municipal prosecutor in Jersey City, announced that his office would seek to downgrade some marijuana charges to noncriminal offenses, seek the outright dismissal of low-level marijuana charges and divert those defendants with prior drug arrests and signs of addiction to the city's community court.
The attorney general's office quickly notified Hudnut that he lacked the legal authority to decriminalize marijuana or otherwise refuse to criminally prosecute marijuana-related offenses, noting that only the state Legislature could take such action.