The law also establishes a new framework for individuals under the age of 21 who possess or consume any amount of marijuana, hashish, cannabis, or alcohol in any public place, including a school:
- First offense: Officers shall issue a written warning.
- Second offense: Officers shall issue a written warning AND provide the person with informational materials on community drug treatment services.
- For individuals under the age of 18, the officer shall provide the individual’s parent(s) or guardian with copies of the warning issues for both the first and second offenses.
- Third or subsequent offense. Officers shall issue a written warning AND, again, provide the person with informational materials on community drug treatment services.
- If the individual is between the ages of 18 and 21, then the officer shall provide notice of the written warning to the community drug treatment program.
- If the individual is under the age of 18, then the officer shall again provide the juvenile’s parent(s) or guardian with a copy of the written warning.
- Please note: Officers may not fingerprint individuals under the age of 21 for their first second, third or subsequent offenses.
- However, if an individual under the age of 21 is in possession of more than 6 ounces of marijuana or 17 grams of hashish, that individual is also in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3)(b), a 4th-degree crime, and may be issued a criminal complaint.
- Most notable change: The odor of marijuana, hashish, or alcohol no longer constitutes reasonable articulable suspicion to initiate a stop of an individual under the age of 21, nor does it provide probable cause to search the person’s personal property or vehicle to determine a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:33-15(a)(1).
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