Jersey City Prosecutor Aims to End Pot Prosecutions in N.J.

July 31, 2018
Updated 6mo ago

By Jacqueline Corba

The chief prosecutor of Jersey City, N.J., said the state legislature could pass a bill legalizing recreational marijuana before the end of the year.

"If we're able to get a vote soon enough," prosecutor Jake Hudnut told Cheddar on Tuesday, "conceivably there will never be another person prosecuted in New Jersey for simple marijuana possession, and I really think that should be the benchmark."

Hudnut stopped prosecuting marijuana cases on July 19, less than a month after taking office.

About 30,000 people are arrested in marijuana cases each year in New Jersey, which holds the record for the second highest arrests in the nation behind Wyoming.

Hudnut said people of color are three times more likely to be arrested or prosecuted for marijuana possession.

"One of the most troubling parts of my career as a defense attorney was standing next to so many young men of color pleading guilty to marijuana when I knew so many of my white friends were doing the same thing, but they were able to do it without fear of being arrested and prosecuted," said Hudnut, who spent seven years as a defense attorney.

New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbur Grewal briefly stepped in, saying Hudnut overstepped his authority, but himself formed a working group of 20ーincluding Hudnutーto explore the state's handling of marijuana cases and ultimately paused prosecutions himself.

Hudnut said if a bill could be put in front of the legislature before the AG's moratorium on prosecutions ends, it would effectively end the prohibition on marijuana in New Jersey for the foreseeable future.

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