New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a memo today that while municipal prosecutor’s should use discretion in marijuana cases, decriminalization is still illegal for now.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Grewal made the announcement in a nine-page memo issued to all county and municipal prosector’s today.
“A local governmental unit may not “decriminalize” or otherwise license conduct which violates the State’s criminal code … Any policy or practice of a municipal prosecutor’s office—or any local governmental ordinance, law, or regulation—is preempted if it conflicts with this principle,” he wrote.
He summed up the sentiments of the memo in a tweet late this morning:
New AG guidance on marijuana to NJ’s municipal prosecutors: Until state law is changed, no blanket “decriminalization” policies. But may exercise prosecutorial discretion on a case-by-case basis. If supported by facts & law, can include dismissal or downgrade of criminal charges.
— AG Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) August 29, 2018
Grewal’s latest state guidelines, which takes effect on September 5th, come after a short spat with Jersey City officials after they announced a new policy decriminalizing marijuana in July.
Just one day after enacting the policy, Grewal came out and said it was illegal, though it promoted a meeting between the AG’s office and Jersey City officials before putting all marijuana cases in the state on hold.
“Today’s guidance on marijuana-related prosecutions is only one step toward improving the administration of justice in our municipal courts,” Grewal added in a statement.
“I look forward to addressing in the near future other, more fundamental issues affecting public confidence in our criminal justice system.”
A Jersey City spokeswoman did not immediately return an email seeking comment.