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New Jersey minors caught with weed or booze won’t have to worry about getting grounded by Mom and Dad — as a new law legalizing marijuana bars police from telling parents if their kids were caught, and apparently extends to alcohol.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a package of bills on Feb. 22 after a three-year legislative push to pave the way for a legal marketplace for marijuana in the state.
The decriminalization allows people to carry up to six ounces of pot but also limits how law enforcement can interact with anyone under the now-legal age of 21 when it comes to suspicion of using marijuana.
That three-step process for dealing with anyone under 18, which stops from cops alerting parents of their kids’ pot bust until their second offense, has faced criticism in recent days from a few police chiefs and lawmakers.
"To apply these new laws to a ‘real-life’ situation, if an officer observes a 12-year-old – or a juvenile of any age – consuming alcohol and/or smoking marijuana in violation of the law, that officer CANNOT contact the juvenile’s parent or guardian – unless this behavior has been previously documented," Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro wrote in a statement...
"We see these laws as not only counterproductive but also as a detriment to the safety of our children," he wrote. "Reviewing the new policy, what presents itself as most problematic is the inability to freely communicate with parents."
The highest-ranking Republican in the New Jersey Assembly, Jon Bramnick, said last week the move was "[a]lmost impossible to believe."
Children are the wards of the state, parents are only there to take the blame if something goes wrong.