The parental notification bill for those underage caught with cannabis possession passed the Assembly Community Development Committee.
The bipartisan parental notification bill would not subject an individual to detention so they would not be forced to go to a police station unless they have committed another crime.
The bill is A. 5472 “Requires law enforcement provide written notification to parent or guardian of person under age 18 who commits first offense of unlawfully buying or possessing alcoholic beverages or cannabis.”
The sponsors include Assemblymembers Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), Shanique Speight (D-Essex) Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), Dan Benson (D-Mercer), Wayne DeAngelo (D-Mercer), Brian Bergen (R-Morris), Jay Webber (R-Morris), and Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex, Mercer, Hunterdon, Somerset).
Parental Notification Hearing
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Brmanick (R-Union) testified first in favor of the bill.
“I congratulate the majority party for recognizing sometimes Trenton makes a mistake,” Bramnick said. “I’m very pleased this bill is moving forward.”
He added there should be more changes to cannabis legalization, including giving officers probable cause over the smell of cannabis that would cause more people to be arrested.
A few local police chiefs have criticized the fact that the smell of cannabis is no longer probable cause to harass people.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) who activists blame for the lack of medical homegrow in New Jersey’s medical cannabis law the Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), noted those who are underage should not be arrested when police notify parents.
Sean Lavin of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) testified in favor of the bill, claiming he would “acquiesce to the will of the people over legalization.”
“My concern is the safety of everyone,” Lavin said. “I think we need to go a step further.”
“This isn’t about putting kids in jail,” Lavin said. “We just want to be able to get it.”
He wants to confiscate cannabis and alcohol from those who are underage. Lavin noted there is a strain in “communication between the community and the police”.
Assembly Chair Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic) said they can confiscate cannabis.
“Thank you for all who took the time to testify,” she said.
It will be interesting to see the FOP acquiesce to the will of the people going forward. Or fight that will with death by a 1,000 cuts with their allies.