The New Jersey judiciary announced Thursday that the state had struck off more than 362,000 cases of marijuana since July 1, when a decriminalization law went into effect that made aid mandatory for people who have been taken in the enforcement of the ban. The courts have also said they will launch a public education campaign next week to help even more people understand the possibilities for redress under the law.
In the meantime, around 1,200 people have also been released from probation since their cannabis radiation was processed.
Courts have previously estimated that around 360,000 people were eligible for redress under the new law, so it appears that the review process did identify most of these cases.
– Courts of New Jersey (@njcourts) September 16, 2021
These actions, first reported by NJ.com, after State Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner released a order in July, it also causes some pending marijuana cases to be dismissed and no-appear warrants to be quashed.
“Cases of offenses eligible for expungement include certain charges of marijuana or hashish alone or in combination with the following: possession of drug accessories; use or be under the influence of a controlled dangerous substance; and failure to legally dispose of a controlled and dangerous substance ”, the judiciary noted in its Thursday update.
Those who are not automatically eligible for expungement can still file a petition for judicial review, he said. The administrative clerk of the courts also plans to launch on September 20 an “awareness campaign” to “inform the public of the Opportunities available through the Marijuana Decriminalization Act.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed bills on the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in February. The lawmaker had to pass the first measure after voters approved a referendum on reform in the November 2020 election.
“With our new cannabis laws, we are turning the page on the failure of the drug war and ensuring social justice here in New Jersey,” the governor said in a tweet about recent erasure measures records.
362,000 cases of marijuana already written off. Thousands more to come.
With our new cannabis laws, we are turning the page on the failure of the drug war and ensuring social justice here in New Jersey.https://t.co/NMNCCCIlib
– Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) September 13, 2021
New Jersey officials have separately been proactive about implementing cannabis reform since the legalization bill was passed.
The day after Murphy’s signing of the legalization legislation, then Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (D) ordered prosecutors to drop cases for cannabis offenses and issued separate guidelines to the police intent on how to proceed under the updated laws.
The attorney general also urged prosecution discretion for marijuana cases in memos prior to the signing of the bill.
Grewal has also taken steps to ensure that people do not exploit the legalization law’s provisions before retail sales launch. In June, he sent warning letters to companies that were effectively circumventing state marijuana laws by “offering” cannabis in exchange for non-marijuana purchases, such as cookies, brownies and overpriced stickers.
Giveaways are legal between adults 21 and over under the New Jersey Adult Cannabis Act, but a number of companies have reportedly taken advantage of this policy by offering “free” cannabis products. to those who buy other items like snacks and baked goods.
No retail marijuana business has been licensed since the state passed recreational legalization earlier this year. But regulators approved the initial rules for the program last month that will set up the state’s retail market.
More than 70% of the state’s municipalities have chosen to ban cannabis companies from operating in their area, but voters have so far had no say in local decisions, local officials making their choice through the municipal councils.
That said, elected officials in several regions that support the commercialization of cannabis have chosen to enact a ban before the August 22 deadline simply to give themselves more time to develop individualized regulations before giving the green light to marijuana companies.
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