The State Legislature drafted three Bills which Governor Murphy signed into Law on February 21, 2021 to legalize, regulate and decriminalize marijuana. The reason for this message to all of you is to make you aware that part of the Law deals with underage consumption/possession of alcohol as well as underage consumption/possession of marijuana. The Law indicates that any juvenile, 17 years of age or younger, who is found by the police to be under the influence and/or in possession of alcohol or marijuana must be given a written warning, but more importantly, the police cannot advise the parents of the juvenile. As an example, your 15 year old child is found to be under the influence of alcohol and in possession of 5 ounces of marijuana, the police must confiscate the marijuana and provide the juvenile with a written warning but cannot advise you as their parent of the offense. If the juvenile is found to be in possession and/or under the influence of alcohol or marijuana a second time, they must be provided with a written warning and only then can the parents be notified. Furthermore, the Law states any juvenile under the age of 18, which astonishingly means any child of any age falls into this category.
The Florham Park Police Department is concerned with this portion of the Law for several reasons. First, the Law as it stands is counterproductive to the decades’ long approach the Department has spent teaching our children about the dangers of alcohol and drugs through school based educational programs. Secondly, and most importantly, the law takes away your rights, as a parent, to have knowledge of your dependent child’s behavior which can be dangerous and/or deadly to their health and wellbeing.
I encourage all of our residents to contact your representatives, whose contact information you can find below, and make your feelings known about this Law and how it can or will affect your children, as well as your ability to parent.
Senator Richard Cody - District Office: 651 Old Mt. Pleasant Avenue, Livingston, NJ 07039 (973) 535-5017
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (who co-sponsored the Bill) - District Office: 511 Valley St., Maplewood, NJ 07040 (973) 762-1886
Assemblyman John McKeon - District Office: 221 Main St., Madison, NJ 07940 (973) 377-1606
Chief of Police/Deputy OEM Coordinator
February 26, 2021