The debate over legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey took a sudden and dramatic turn on Tuesday when Attorney General Gurbir Grewal ordered county and municipal prosecutors to suspend marijuana-related cases until early September.
The surprising announcement, which will affect thousands of defendants, comes in the midst of an ongoing battle between Grewal’s office and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, who tried to unilaterally decriminalize marijuana in his city last week. It also comes as lawmakers in Trenton are wrestling over whether to expand the state‘s medical marijuana program and legalize recreational weed.
After meeting with Jersey City officials on Monday, Grewal agreed to establish a working group that will craft a statewide policy for prosecutors by the end of August. Jersey City Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut and Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez will be a part of the group, Grewal said.
“In the interim, I ask that all municipal prosecutors in New Jersey seek an adjournment until September 4, 2018, or later, of any matter involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court,” Grewal wrote in a letter to prosecutors. “This adjournment will give my office sufficient time to develop appropriate guidance for prosecutors."