NJ’s new marijuana law blamed for out-of-control party in Long Branch
LONG BRANCH — Part of the attraction of the Jersey Shore for social media parties like Saturday's at Pier Village is New Jersey's law that makes it a third-degree crime for a police officer to interrogate or ask questions about possible alcohol and marijuana, according to Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.
Large crowds gathered at the beachfront shopping and residential area in Long Branch Saturday night, promoted on social media, according to Long Branch Director of Public Safety Domingos Saldida.
The manager of Stewart's Root Beer told New Jersey 101.5 employees voluntarily clean up damage at the restaurant to clean up damage after what he called "mayhem."
Golden said the invitation for the weekend party said "BYOW" and "BYOB": bring your own weed and bring your own booze.
"One of the misleading things that's going around about the marijuana law is this misnomer that you can smoke and drink on the beach at the boardwalk. Some of the towns have posted no smoking at all, no marijuana, no cigarettes, no nothing," Golden said.
But if there's no ordinance can someone light up a joint?
"In the legal sense, yeah. With the underage it's a third-degree crime for an officer to interrogate or ask questions. This makes it difficult to actually enforce the law for underage alcohol and pot," Golden said.
Although the Legislature adjusted the law to repeal a ban on police telling parents about underage weed and alcohol use, a provision remains that eliminated the smell of marijuana or alcohol as probable cause to question a suspect or initiate a search of a vehicle.
"It makes it very difficult for our law enforcement officers out there to investigate the underage use of any of those substances. It's an enabling law. We went from a ballot question for adult use to an enabling law for teen use is what we went to," Golden said.