New Jersey's 13th Legislative District

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

Senator Declan O'Scanlon

O’Scanlon: It’s Groundhog Day in Trenton Again … AGAIN! Marijuana ‘Cleanup’ Bill Magically Becomes ‘Crush Cops Bill’

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Only In Trenton Can We Screw Something Up So Bad … So Many Times

As Trenton Democrats continue to manipulate marijuana legalization efforts, Senator Declan O’Scanlon released the following statement:

Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said Trenton Democrats are using legislation to legalize marijuana for adult use as leverage to ‘crush’ police officers in the state. (CC0 Public Domain)

“Once again Democrats take something that should be easy and common sense, take it to the nth degree and turn it into a mess that any reasonable legislator has to scratch their head and vote no on. There was no public testimony despite amendments with serious implications. What is the goal of this bill? I thought it was to stop youth arrests and dissuade youth use? It appears that the purpose of this bill is to jam up police and seek retribution on law enforcement for trying to do their jobs. It is malicious.

“Should a police officer ever make the mistake to cite marijuana as a reason for a stop, or try to deter youth use as his job requires, under the bill before the legislature, that officer, even when acting in good faith, could be easily investigated and potentially charged with the CRIME of ‘official deprivation of civil rights,’ a 3rd degree offense subject to a term of imprisonment of 3 to 5 years, a fine of $15k, or both.

“This bill removes the reasonable current standard for the aforementioned crime– that the officer must have intentionally acted in a malicious or discriminatory way – and instead potentially criminalizes unintentional or inadvertent actions. For example, should a cop try to approach a juvenile who is openly using marijuana, that juvenile and their parents need only to say the juvenile was detained too long to require the start of a criminal investigation into that officer, which would drag that officer’s name through the mud. That’s just how low the Democrats are proposing to set the bar here. As much as we all agree that we all want to hold bad cops accountable, we can’t err on the side of victimizing good cops that make simple mistakes or, worse, are targeted by someone with an axe to grind, and then compounding that by possibly sending them to jail and ruining their lives. This bill fails at that balance.

“Furthermore, civil suits will rain down on any municipality that has an officer convicted. The cost of defending such suits, or paying the judgements, along with the increased insurance liability will be passed on to our beleaguered taxpayers.

“This is madness and I implore Senators Sweeney and Scutari to change course.”

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