Home>Governor>Murphy signs bill moving parental notifications to first underage marijuana, alcohol offense

Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Murphy signs bill moving parental notifications to first underage marijuana, alcohol offense

By Nikita Biryukov, March 26 2021 2:11 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill shifting parental notifications for minors found in possession of marijuana or alcohol to the first offense, instead of the second, Friday.

The bill, which passed unanimously in both chambers of the legislature Thursday, retools the state’s system of graduated warnings for underage marijuana offenses.

A bill passed and signed into law last month would have seen underage users receive only a written warning on their first offense, with parents of offenders under the age of 18 notified on the second.

Republicans called for the policy shift shortly after Murphy signed marijuana legalization and decriminalization bills into law last month, charging those bills effectively legalized underage drug use.

Democrats took up the issue not long after.

GOP lawmakers will likely continue to rail against provisions in the earlier bills that lowered the bar to criminally charge law enforcement officials who illegally search underage users by removing a requirement that the search be predicated on an individual’s protected class, like their race.

That provision, the result of lengthy negotiations between Democratic legislative leaders and the Legislative Black and Latino Caucuses, whose members feared disparate enforcement of marijuana laws would continue absent the safeguards, is unlikely to change.

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