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On Wednesday, Nov. 25, as families prepared to take a brief respite for Thanksgiving, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that prosecutors would take a respite from prosecuting low-level marijuana possession charges. Grewal asked that prosecutors at the state and local levels put all such cases on hold until further notice. For more serious charges, Grewal asked prosecutors to “use their discretion” to dismiss or postpone the case.
The announcement comes as state lawmakers struggle to hash out details on legalizing the substance. The directive does not cover driving under the influence of marijuana. It also does nothing to prevent police from arresting people for marijuana possession.
“All New Jersey municipal, county, and state prosecutors are instructed to seek an adjournment, until at least Jan. 25, 2021,” Grewal wrote to the state’s top law enforcement officers.
Our attorneys at Rosenblum Law have participated in several court sessions of late in which individuals with marijuana cases on the docket were told in open court that their cases would be put on hold for the time being in light of the current situation.
During the general election on Nov. 3, New Jersey voters approved a ballot measure to legalize marijuana. The law is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, although many details are still not decided. The American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations allege that New Jersey police arrest about 100 people a day on low-level marijuana charges.
Meanwhile, those who have already been convicted of marijuana-related offenses remain in limbo. The ballot measure did not address whether those convictions should be expunged following legalization, and if so, whether the expungement would be automatic or if individuals would have to specifically petition the courts to consider clearing the offense. The latter may require individuals to hire an attorney to navigate the complex paperwork and other legal pitfalls that come with the expungement process.
Regardless of what lawmakers decide, eligible individuals can still file to have their criminal records expunged, whether or not they have low-level marijuana convictions. The attorneys at Rosenblum Law have experience fighting to clear criminal records for their clients. Email Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3694 today for a free consultation about your case.