Beavis and Butthead write the New Jersey marijuana laws (Opinion)
On the next episode of "Beavis and Butthead" the boys are tasked with writing legislation for New Jersey's newly legalized recreational marijuana.
Beavis: "Let's make it so that if a kid gets busted for weed, the police can't tell their parents, uh-huh uh-huh."
Butthead: "Better yet Beavis, let's make it so that if a cop does tell the parents, the cop goes to jail! Hehehehe."
Beavis: "Excellent Dude! Can't wait to tell Governor Murphy."
Next week, Beavis and Butthead help Gov. Murphy with the budget!
Today, in New Jersey minors don't have to worry about getting grounded or worse for getting caught with weed, because according to the new marijuana laws, the police are prohibited from notifying parents the first time a minor is busted. If you're a parent, as I am of two 14-year-old boys, it gets worse. As Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick tweets:
Bramnick came on my show last night, Monday, Feb. 22 and said, "Gov. Murphy kept saying if you vote for the ballot question of adult-use for recreational marijuana then you want to support that vote, in essence, what happened was when they turned it back to the Legislature, the Legislature made it legal for underage consumption of marijuana."
As for the vehicle that Bramnick was tweeting about, he said, "The most disturbing part, if a police officer pulls over a car and smells marijuana, this legislation specifically says that that is not probable cause to do anything else, meaning police officer smells marijuana, could be billowing smoke coming out of the car, no further action can be taken by the police officer unless he or she sees the marijuana."
Here's the clincher, according to Bramnick: "The final paragraph of this bill makes it a criminal penalty for the police officer to do anything but what this statute prescribes. So technically, if that police officer calls a parent and tells them I've got your kid in the park smoking marijuana, that is a civil rights penalty by the police officer who can then be charged with a criminal violation."
Any police officer who fails to adhere to the new law would be criminally liable for their actions. If guilty, police could be imprisoned for five to 10 years or fined up to $150,000.
What gives New Jersey government the right to take the parents out of the loop when it comes to informing them about their children's marijuana use? If marijuana is illegal for minors then they are committing a crime by using or possessing it. The police should have a duty to inform the parents, not the other way around.
Government and police should be working with parents to put their children in the best possible position to succeed, not against them. Can you imagine being a parent and getting notified that your son or daughter was involved in an automobile accident where the driver was smoking weed and the police stopped them and couldn't do anything about it? May you never get that notification.
Here's a good question: Why is it OK for police to notify parents on the second offense but not the first? As a parent who is the first and last line of defense in raising our children, how can you help a child who may have a substance abuse problem if you are kept unaware?
I want to know ASAP if my kid gets busted. As a taxpaying resident of New Jersey, I would think my government would want me to know.
I think it's great that New Jersey finally got the marijuana legislation for recreational adult use but from what I see it looks like it was written by Beavis and Butthead. This is a horrible job by the Legislature.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.