NJ Attorney General Preps For Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

NEWARK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — As New Jersey lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy work to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, law enforcement officials are still trying to work out the details they’ll need to handle.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell spoke with New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to understand what needs to be done.

“If the legislature and the governor decide to legalize marijuana, I think from a law enforcement perspective, we need to be prepared with additional drug recognition experts— that's what will be required to determine if people are under the influence of marijuana and driving and breaking motor vehicle laws— so we need to step up the number of DREs, or drug recognition experts, we have,” Grewal said.

He notes that the state will also need to bring in a number of drug-sniffing dogs who are not trained to locate marijuana.

The attorney general believes the most important aspect in legalizing recreational marijuana in the state is the expungement of existing records.

“It is my hope that if they do go down this road that the social justice expungement piece will be part of the new legislation,” Grewal said.

When asked what the state could do to determine the level of impairment by marijuana, the attorney general said they will need to rely on drug recognition experts.

“It’s not something that we could easily test for in the blood and because they're no national standards for impairment, we have to rely on drug recognition experts,” he explained.

He notes that it will take some time to build up a standard and that law enforcement agencies in the state are already working to train teams in preparation of legalization.

If New Jersey legalizes the drug, it will become the 11th state to do so. Currently, medical marijuana is already broadly legalized in the state.