NJ must change ‘incredibly ludicrous’ weed laws (Opinion)
Only in New Jersey would we finally get recreational marijuana legalized and screw up the policing. Oh by the way let me remind you that it was we the people of New Jersey that got marijuana legalized by voting it in and not the governor who promised to do it if elected.
All the politicians had to do was figure out the laws and what do they come up with? Putting cops in jail for years for violating a minor's civil rights. This after not allowing the officers to notify their parents of the first bust. That part was changed thanks to public outcry, this part that leaves the police hanging needs to be changed as well.
New Jersey State Policeman's Benevolent Association President Pat Colligan came on my show on March 29 saying,
"Until the law is really fixed and we are protected somewhat, don't engage with the juvenile, no town wants to see their officers locked up."
Colligan went on to say, "This was incredibly ludicrous when the law first went through a couple of weeks ago, now it still borders on ludicrous."
"You have officers still facing a third-degree charge now if the juvenile gets injured during our investigation. We get charged with a second-degree charge, so there's a presumption for third-degree charge of four years in prison. Eight to ten years for a second-degree charge, so unfortunately what they've effectively done is make sure that we don't even look at somebody under 21 years of age either smoking marijuana or drinking."
Attorney General Gurbir Grewel has talked about developing training for officers under the new law.
“It is a real issue, and it’s front and center right now because one of the unintended consequences of the legislation could be de-policing, which I don’t think any of us want in our communities,” Grewal said. “We want our officers to uphold public safety.”
Ocean City is already seeing the results of police staying away from minors and Mayor Jay Gilliam is blaming the state of New Jersey for tying police hands.
It's time to untie the police hands and let them do their jobs when it comes to dealing with minors with drugs and alcohol. No officer should have to risk prison when it comes to enforcing the law with our children. For all we know, that cop could be saving those lives in ways that they will come to see later on in life.
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.