New Jersey State Sen. Vince Polistina, Assemblyman Don Guardian and Assemblywoman Claire Swift (all R-2), Wednesday announced new legislation that will aid law enforcement in addressing juvenile crime issues within the State of New Jersey.
“Following the decriminalization of marijuana and the changes to the juvenile justice laws, many law enforcement officers are being left with unclear direction as to what, if anything, they can do to combat some of the offenses and issues being caused by some juveniles primarily in our shore communities,” Polistina said in a release. “This new law will give some power back to the police, and hopefully help to quell any issues before they arise.”
Polistina said the proposed law would allow law enforcement officers to identify and verify age for persons in possession, and or use, of marijuana or alcohol. The proposed legislation does not require an arrest or citation for underage use but allows for confiscation and notification to a parent or guardian for any individual under 18 years of age.
“While we know that no police department has the manpower to patrol simply for these issues, this proposal can be utilized as a tool by the police departments to address any concerns or complaints of large gatherings of juveniles before a problem is created,” Guardian added.
“Kids today need to be reminded that we are a Country and a State that believes in law and order,” Swift said. “No one wants to see a criminal charge affect the future of a young child; however we do have laws and rules as a society, and we must live within those boundaries.”
Polistina said he hopes both the Assembly and Senate versions of the bills will move through both houses without issue.
“This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s one that touches every one of us in our communities one way or another,” Polistina said. “Hopefully, these bills will garner support from both Republicans and Democrats and help avoid situations like we’ve recently seen in Wildwood and elsewhere.”