The Garden State is apparently tired of having parents “interfere” in their children’s lives. A bizarre new law was recently signed by Democratic Governor Phil Murphy that prevents the police from notifying parents if their children are found using marijuana or drinking alcohol while they are underage. The provision in question was part of a larger bill that allows New Jersey residents to legally carry more than a third of a pound of marijuana. While the law does not allow children to use marijuana, tobacco or alcohol, it obviously infringes on the rights of parents to monitor and guide their children’s development. The notification portion of the bill is so unpopular that even many of the legislators who voted for it are now calling for a revision to remove that part of the legislation. (Fox News)
A new law in New Jersey is sparking criticism from parents and police officers throughout the state, as the bill restricts law enforcement from notifying the parents of minors who are caught with possession of marijuana or alcohol.
The law, signed in February by Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy, allows people to carry up to 6 ounces of marijuana. It also prohibits police officers from notifying parents when their child is caught by law enforcement with marijuana or alcohol for the child’s first incident. After the first reported incident, officers can relay the information back to parents.
However, police note that there is not a way to confirm if a minor has any prior incidents reported.
As noted, even if you thought this was a good idea, the police don’t have the tools to ensure they are in compliance. Since a child’s first interaction with the police involving drugs or alcohol use is not recorded anywhere, if the cops find a minor drinking beer or smoking pot, they have no way of knowing if that child was previously found engaging in such activity. As one police officer pointed out, the only way the law could be enforced is if the same officer picks up the same child multiple times and remembers their name.
Once word of this provision showed up in the news, almost nobody was in favor of it. A Republican legislator has already introduced a bill that would remove this restriction and many Democrats have released statements saying that they will support it. Even Governor Murphy (the person who signed the bill into law) said that the proposed revision is “a step in the right direction,” adding, “I support that direction.”
The real questions to answer here are how that provision made it into the legislation in the first place, how a majority voted for it and why Murphy signed it. Did nobody actually read the bill and notice the change in parental notification policy? If so, why are you signing off on bills you haven’t read? Or was this just a case of the legislature and the Governor simply assuming that this would be fine and then acting completely gobsmacked when parents and police around the state began crying foul? You have a choice of incompetence or being disconnected from reality to explain this.
It would be lovely to simply assume that elected officials still respect the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit and imbue them with decent morals. Sadly, that hasn’t been the case for a long time. State-sponsored indoctrination of children has been the goal of the educational system for quite a while now, but stretching it to this degree is not just foolish, but dangerous.
We have reams of data on the effects that drugs, alcohol and tobacco can have on children and none of it is beneficial. Addictive behavior can begin quite early in life and the negative consequences multiply over time. Without parental supervision, the risk of such a downward spiral increases. And I say that as someone who used to support the legalization of marijuana. But recent studies indicating the risk of psychosis from regular use of today’s newer, more potent strains of cannabis have caused me to rethink that position. And that’s only when talking about adults.
Chalk this one up as one of the worst ideas to ever make it into law. Hopefully, the Governor and the legislature have realized how badly they screwed the pooch here and will move quickly to correct the situation.
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