Under proposed bills submitted to the governor, parents will be told if their underage children are found with alcohol or weed.
The Senate and Assembly passed legislation on Thursday forcing police to alert the parents of someone under the age of 18 who is caught in possession of or consuming drugs or alcohol, even though it is their first offense, patching up what many politicians, law enforcement, and the public believe is a flaw in the system.
Both chambers passed this change unanimously.
“Marijuana was legalized for adults, not for children or teenagers,” said Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, who sponsored the parental notification bill. “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 potential 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,” he added.
The parental notification change now heads to Gov. Phil Murphy, who is expected to sign it into law. Earlier this month, Murphy called the idea a “step in the right direction.”
Police is forbidden from approaching parents on a minor’s first conviction under the newly enacted New Jersey drug law.