GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ — A public hearing and final vote will be held on proposed changes to Gloucester Township’s smoking regulations Monday night. The changes are being considered after New Jersey residents voted to approve marijuana for recreational use in November.
The proposal adds e-liquids, cannabis and other marijuana products to the list of items covered by the township’s current smoking ordinance.
The proposal was recommended by Gloucester Township Police Chief David Harkins after he learned that under the township’s current ordinance, it would be legal to smoke marijuana in public and community parks, recreational facilities and public buildings.
The law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy puts the onus on municipalities to regulate the things townships can control regarding marijuana in their area.
There are some things municipalities have control over, and some things they don’t, and one change is already underway to change one controversial aspect of the law.
The bill as Murphy signed it last month prohibited a police officer from notifying parents if their teenage son or daughter (under 21) was found with marijuana or alcohol for the first time. For a first violation, the officer could only give a written warning to the teen, and the officer can record their name, address and birthday.
Harkins had expressed concern about that aspect, and said he was working with local legislators to fix it. Read more here: Marijuana Legalization Has Gloucester Township Revisiting Smoking Laws
Assembly members Herb Conaway (D-Burlington), Joann Downey (D-Monmouth), Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth) and Shanique Speight (D-Essex) announced they are sponsoring legislation to require law enforcement to provide written notification to a parent or guardian of a person under age 18 who commits the first offense of unlawfully buying or possessing alcoholic beverages or cannabis.
“With this legislation, 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,” the legislators said in a joint statement. “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.”
The bill was approved in committee and is headed to the full Assembly for review. Similar legislation has been introduced in the State Senate. Gov. Phil Murphy has said he would support such a change. Read more here: Murphy Backs Change To Marijuana Law Allowing Parent Notification
The local smoking amendment is the only proposed ordinance up for a vote in Gloucester Township Monday night, but there are six items on the consent agenda. A non-consent…