In response to a report Tuesday on NJ Spotlight News about stalled marijuana legislation, the Governor’s Office says that proposals have been sent to lawmakers, standardizing mild civil penalties for anyone using under the age of 21.
A spokesperson for the governor said the penalty would be akin to a parking ticket, but cost less, prohibit arrests of young people and carry less weight than a disorderly person’s offense; those are commonly issued for underage drinking. Without the changes, the current bills would inadvertently legalize minors’ use of marijuana, which is unregulated — unlike cannabis, the legal, controlled version of weed. The legal distinction between the two has led to some of the confusion surrounding the bill.
The changes clarify decriminalizing both forms of the substance. It’s unclear if lawmakers will address the cleanup bill before the end of the year.