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Police dogs will no longer be trained to sniff out cannabis in New Jersey

Gov. Phil Murphy recently revealed that May is the deadline to vote for cannabis legalization

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Is New Jersey preparing for cannabis legalization? If the police force’s actions are anything to go by, quite possibly. State police dogs are no longer being taught how to sniff out the odor of burnt weed.

This is according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who informed lawmakers how a pending proposal to legalize recreational weed in New Jersey resulted in police halting canine training to distinguish the smell of burnt cannabis.

He made a point of stating that while it is possible to train dogs to sniff out cannabis in the future, it is impossible to “untrain” them. Grewal says that dogs already trained to accomplish the task of detecting cannabis will prove beneficial in settings whereby the plant is forbidden, e.g. schools and prisons.

Cannabis laws in New Jersey

Medical cannabis is permitted in New Jersey, but it is illegal for recreational use. On the other hand, Governor Phil Murphy has approved a finalized bill containing legislation to legalize adult-use weed statewide.

It is currently pending before the state legislature. Voting will commence on May 13. This is the new date for voting, following a delay from the initial vote on March 29, which never happened. In the event that a proposal progresses and New Jersey does, in fact, legalize recreational cannabis, it will become the 11th U.S. State to do so.

Back in 2013, the police force in New Jersey made a total of 24,765 arrests for cannabis possession; the highest number in 20 years and double the number recorded in 1993 when fewer people were residing in the state. The arrests were only carried out for small amounts of the plant.

Anyone caught with 50 grams or less of cannabis in New Jersey will face at least six months in prison and will be slapped with a fine. Jail time is inevitable for anyone who commits a cannabis-related crime for the first time in their lives, with all first-time offenders in the state facing time behind bars.

Murphy to meet with top Dems regarding cannabis legalization in New Jersey

Legal cannabis could soon become a reality for New Jerseyites after Gov. Phil Murphy recently revealed that May is the deadline to vote for cannabis legalization. In the event that votes are insufficient, he plans on expanding medical cannabis by executive action. Well, that is if the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act doesn’t pass first.

Murph, during his Wednesday night radio show this week, declared that he will be meeting and discussing cannabis with top Democrats who lead the Legislature such as Senate President Stephen Sweeney and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.

When questioned about what he believed the chances of a bill passing in New Jersey before the end of May were, he didn’t put odds on cannabis legalization winning. However, he did say that he was feeling “cautiously optimistic.”

“We came very close,” he said during a live public radio broadcast. “We came within a vote or two. I hope we can print this sooner than later.”

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Police dogs will no longer be trained to sniff out cannabis in New Jersey