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2021 MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION & UNDERAGE ALCOHOL POSSESSION PARENT/GUARDIAN FACT SHEET

The new legislation that has been passed by lawmakers regarding the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana has left many parents/guardians confused as to what police actions can be taken. 

First, the odor of marijuana or hashish, either raw or burnt, by itself, no longer establishes “reasonable, articulable suspicion” to initiate a stop or search of a person or their vehicle to determine a violation of a possession or fourth-degree distribution offense. The police can still take investigative steps to determine if the driver of a vehicle is operating the vehicle under the influence however, the odor of marijuana cannot be the sole reason for the stop.

In addition, there are special rules for those under the age of 21 in possession of marijuana, hashish and/or alcohol.

  • First Offense: Officers will issue a written warning (includes name, address, and date of birth). If the individual is under the age of 18, the parents or guardian will be provided a copy of the warning.
  • Second Offense: Officers will issue a written warning (includes name, address, and date of birth) as well as provide the individual with informational material on community drug treatment services. If the individual is under the age of 18, the parents or guardian will be provided a copy of the warning.
  • Third or Subsequent Offense: Officers will issue a written warning (includes name, address, and date of birth) as well as provide the individual with informational material on community drug treatment services. If the individual is under the age of 18, the parents or guardian will be provided a copy of the warning and treatment information.

If the individual under the age of 21 is in possession of more than 6 ounces of marijuana or 17 grams of hashish, they are in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(3)(b), a fourth-degree crime and may be issued a complaint-summons.

Officers:

  • May not request consent from an individual who is under the age of 21.
  • May not search the individual or their property/vehicle even if they observe marijuana/alcohol in plain view. The officer will order the individual to turn over the same to be seized however;
  • May not place the individual under 21 under arrest if they refuse to provide identifying information or turn over marijuana and/or alcohol.

Please note: If an individual under or over the age of 21 is highly intoxicated because of alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance, officers still have a duty to get them to a safe place such as a medical facility or home.

Evesham Police Department
984 Tuckerton Road
Marlton, NJ 08053

Committed to Excellence