Instead of telling kids to “just say no,” New Jersey Democrats are instead telling their state’s youth to go ahead and chug that beer and smoke that joint. It’s a world without consequences thanks to a new statute, signed into law on Monday by Democrat governor Phil Murphy, that prevents law enforcement officials from informing parents when their minor children are caught smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol.
The legislation was attached, at the last minute, to a package of bills intended to legalize recreational marijuana for adults, a measure approved by voters last November.
If police see your underage son or daughter smoking weed or drinking alcohol, they can no longer detain them and call you to come get them. The decriminalization bill specifically bars police from telling you they found your child smoking or drinking.
If that wasn’t insane enough, cops themselves could face criminal penalties for alerting parents that their children were caught using illicit substances. The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association decried the legislation:
This language is an attack on law enforcement officers by making us the target of punishment rather than the individuals breaking the law. This language will have dangerous consequences for the public and the police.
Families will only be contacted if their kids become repeat offenders, which is likely of little comfort to parents, who were blindsided by the legislation and never given the opportunity by lawmakers to offer any feedback. In the words of Republican State. Sen. Robert Singer, who opposed the bill, kids in New Jersey have now been given a “free pass…to do whatever you want to do in this state.”
The new law is a blatant attack on parental rights, fecklessly disguised as criminal just reform. Gov. Murphy, with the willful cooperation of the Democrat-controlled Assembly and Senate, has neutralized police and eroded parental authority. Murphy has stated his intention is to ensure that young people, particularly minorities, don’t get “tangled up in our criminal justice system,” but he has, in actuality, given them his express permission to do just that.
And this terrible law couldn’t have come at a worse time for New Jersey families, who are already struggling with mental health and behavioral issues in the wake of year-long COVID-19 lockdowns. The very government that limited their access to school, sports, afterschool jobs and enrichment programs is now telling kids it’s fine to fill that void with drugs and alcohol. Even better, Mom and Dad will never know about it!
Instead of enacting meaningful criminal justice reform, New Jersey Democrats have instead hamstrung their own police, placed additional burdens on parents already struggling to keep their kids on track and almost certainly set up their state to deal with the fallout for years to come.
Teri Christoph is editor of Fierce, a weekly newsletter about conservative women and politics.
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