Parents will be notified the first time their under-age child is caught using marijuana or alcohol under terms of legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal, Senator Joe Lagana, Senator Dawn Addiego and Senator Linda Greenstein that was signed into law on Friday.
The law revises the recently enacted adult-use cannabis law that already requires parental notification by law enforcement officers for second and third violations.
“Marijuana was legalized for adults, not for children or teenagers,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth), who serves as the Senate Majority Conference Leader. “Parents need to be notified if their underage child is using marijuana or alcohol so they can take the appropriate steps to protect them from the potentially harmful effects of substance use at young ages and to help them make responsible decisions. Allowing parents to remain involved and informed can help to make sure that first time offenders do not become repeat offenders.”
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“The goals of social justice reform and greater economic opportunity through legalizing marijuana should not be achieved at the cost of parental involvement,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen). “As a father, I know that all parents would want to know if their children used alcohol or drugs. When they become adults, they can make responsible decisions based on well informed, good judgement. Until then, parents need to be included so they can provide the guidance and safeguards their children need.”
“Parental involvement is not only a right, it is a responsibility,” said Senator Addiego (D- Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “It’s a matter of good judgement and common sense that parents are quickly informed if their child is caught breaking the law by drinking or using marijuana before they reach the legal age. Parental intervention at the first offense will help make sure it doesn’t happen again. We want the first offense to be the only offense.”
“It is important to remember that it is still illegal for minors to possess or consume marijuana, alcohol and other substances in New Jersey,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Parents should be notified of their children’s possession or consumption of drugs and alcohol. They have a right to know about any offenses to ensure that their children are safe.”
The law requires parental notification upon the first violation for underage possession or consumption of alcohol, cannabis item, marijuana or hashish by individuals under the age of 18. The parent or guardian of a minor will be notified after a second violation and provided information on how to access community-based services, and be notified regarding any subsequent violations with the minor subject to a referral for community services.