TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey parents must be notified if their minor child is caught buying or possessing marijuana under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday.
The Democrat signed the legislation Friday. That’s a day after the Democrat-led Legislature passed what lawmakers called a “cleanup” bill to correct last month’s law setting up the new recreational marijuana marketplace.
It inexplicably and explicitly barred police from telling parents whether their children were unlawfully found in possession of marijuana.
Lawmakers moved the bill after what they said was an onslaught from constituents protesting the prohibition against parental notification.
“Marijuana was legalized for adults, not for children or teenagers,” said Sen. Vin Gopal upon the bill’s passage Thursday in the State Senate. “Parents need to be notified if their underage child is using marijuana or alcohol so they can take the appropriate steps to protect them from the potential harmful effects of substance use at young ages and to help them make responsible decisions. Allowing parents to remain involved and informed can help to make sure that first time offenders do not become repeat offenders.”
The law on the books before Friday requires the parent or guardian of the minor to be notified after a second violation and provided information on how to access community-based services.
“With this new law, we address the many concerns for the lack of parental notification of underage drinking and cannabis use under the cannabis legalization bill recently signed into law,” said Assemblymembers Herb Conaway, Joann Downey, Eric Houghtaling and Shanique Speight, all Democrats. “Parents and guardians should be notified of a child’s interaction and their potential harm through the use of alcohol and cannabis. These substances are not meant for children. Diligent notification to their parents will allow for intervention and resources to be employed to help stop underage substance abuse early.”