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Senate President Steve Sweeney. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Sweeney urges Grewal to halt marijuana arrests

By Nikita Biryukov, November 09 2020 10:02 am

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) wants the state to halt marijuana arrests as the state works on a bill enabling recreational cannabis use.

“I am calling upon Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to use his legal and moral authority to issue clear guidelines to all law enforcement authorities — state, county and municipal — to stop all arrests and suspend all pending criminal cases against individuals for possession of amounts of marijuana that would be considered personal use,” he said. “It’s time for these arrests that have disproportionately affected people of color to stop.”

The state’s residents last Tuesday voted to approve a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use, but the drug remains illegal while lawmakers work to approve enabling legislation, Grewal has said, though police have wide discretion on how marijuana laws are enforced.

Grewal last week said guidance for law enforcement officials on marijuana arrests is forthcoming but has not yet been issued.

“The people of New Jersey have spoken loud and clear, voting by a two-to-one margin for legalization of adult-use marijuana in last Tuesday’s election,” Sweeney said. “No one should be arrested and face criminal charges for possession of minimal amounts of marijuana now that the people have spoken.

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