After JC meeting attorney general tells prosecutors to hold off on…

first_img× JERSEY CITY – After a July 23 meeting between Jersey City officials and state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, an agreement was reached regarding Jersey City’s attempt to pull back from prosecuting marijuana offenders.After the city prosecutor and Mayor Steven Fulop introduced a policy of not prosecuting first-time offenders, the state’s attorney general said the city had no authority to make such a change. But a July 24 a memo from Grewal, issued to all 21 county prosecutors, directed a 30-day adjournment of all marijuana charges, pending soon-to-be developed statewide guidelines for downgrading and dismissing low-level marijuana offenses.“This is a huge win for Jersey City, the state of New Jersey, and most importantly the people who would have been impacted by the creation of a criminal record due to a simple marijuana arrest,” said Fulop. “We are excited that Attorney General Grewal and Jersey City found common ground, avoiding the collateral consequences of convictions for marijuana possession while our great state is on the cusp of legalization.”On July 18, Fulop and Jersey City Chief Prosecutor Jake Hudnut announced that the city would either dismiss simple marijuana possession cases in the municipal courts or amend such charges to local ordinance violations, effectively decriminalizing marijuana in Jersey City.But on July 20, Grewal voided the policy. But on July 23, “in light of public support for the policy” according to the release, Jersey City officials from the Municipal Prosecutor’s office, the Department of Public Safety, and the Law Department met with Grewal to discuss how decriminalization can be implemented both in Jersey City and across New Jersey.Grewal will convene a working group of criminal justice stakeholders this summer – including Hudnut – to study the issue and advise the attorney general on statewide solutions to achieve the similar aims to decriminalization, but in accordance with existing state law and court rules.Grewal’s July 24 directive will provide guidance on when to downgrade or dismiss marijuana cases. The aim is to avoid disorderly person misdemeanor convictions for simple possession while New Jersey is on the verge of legalization of marijuana, as well as looking at the consequences that come with those convictions, which could include driver’s license suspension, criminal records, loss of student financial aid, bans from public housing, adverse effects on employment opportunities, and loss of immigration status.Grewal has directed all municipal prosecutors to seek adjournments of open marijuana cases until after Sept. 4, pending the new guidelines from the attorney general. The measure, according to the city, could amount to a moratorium or a substantial reduction in marijuana convictions in New Jersey between now and legalization.last_img read more