Bayonne Police Chief Robert Geisler says in a letter to local parents that new marijuana legalization law “will severely impair the ability” to deter the illegal drug market, as well as to address alcohol and marijuana consumption involving juveniles.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It is important for all parents in our community to know that these new laws will severely impair the ability of law enforcement to surveil and police the illegal drug market,” Geisler wrote on Wednesday.
“It will also hamper our ability to address the issue of underage possession and consumption of alcohol and marijuana with parents and guardians.”
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill to legalize marijuana on February 22nd, which as a whole was met with great fanfare, though one provision has faced scrutiny: that if a juvenile is caught with alcohol or marijuana they can only be issued a written warning.
Their parents also won’t be notified as a result of this first offense, though the governor said on Monday that he would support legislation that would allow for parental notification under these circumstances.
Nevertheless, Geisler says that he feels the current laws have hindered law enforcement’s ability to effectively communicate with parents.
“As a law enforcement officer and as a parent I am disappointed that these new laws have taken away and hampered our ability to communicate with you as parents … Notification to parents upon 1st Offenses would allow parents to take corrective action and hopefully prevent the need for drug treatment services.”
Geisler further states that there won’t be any statewide database to track law enforcement’s marijuana-related interactions with juveniles, meaning the same teen could theoretically receive a written warning for a first offense from multiple police departments.
“The Bayonne Police Department continues to build and strengthen relationships and trust with the youth of our community and their parents. Our priority is to keep our youth and all of our community safe. We will continue to do so within the confines of these new laws.”