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The Berkeley Township Council introduced a pair of resolutions at their monthly meeting on Monday night that raises red flags over State legislation regarding the Marijuana Law and a pending Abortion bill.

The first resolution introduced, No. 2021-154-R, urges the immediate repeal of Senate Bill No. 3454, which is the Marijuana Legalization Amendment.

As part of their resolution, the Berkeley Council is asking that Governor Phil Murphy and the State Legislature "take urgent steps to repeal Senate Bill No. 3454 to protect our children and law enforcement officers."

In its current form, the Marijuana Law prohibits police from interacting with parents if their underage, which in this bill is considered under 21-years old, son or daughter is caught in possession of Marijuana or alcohol, it prohibits police from initiating an investigation and subjects police to a possible 3rd Degree Crime for Depravation of Civil Rights which could lead to prison time, a hefty fine and possible civli lawsuits with no protection or immunity which has been revoked by the State under this new law.

Berkeley Council President Angelo Guadagno and the council addressed their concerns at the Monday night meeting citing safety and well being for children and protection of police as the red flags warranting the resolution they laid out with intentions to send to Governor Murphy, the State Legislature, Ocean County Board of Commissioners, NJ League of Municipalities, NJ Municipal Management Association and the NJ State PBA.

In a copy of the Berkeley Council Marijuana resolution, obtained by Townsquare Media News, reads in part:

"Senate Bill No/ 3454 was passed with little to no discussion, no public transparency and no public debate.

By passing Senate Bill No. 3454, the Legislature and Governor Phil Murphy ignored the judgement of parents over the lives of their children. It shows children there are no major consequences if they are found using marijuana or alcohol for the first time.

Senate Bill No. 3454 takes a huge step backward on the path of ensuring children are aware of both the short-term and long-term consequences of drug and alcohol use.

Senate Bill No. 3454 unfairly and unreasonably imposes criminal penalties on law enforcement officers if they are found to have violated new rules dictating underage possession. The odor of cannabis or alcohol will no longer be enough to justify a search.

Senate Bill No. 3454 turns law enforcement officers into criminals. It establishes a legal set of enforcement powers, but it criminalizes the actual enforcement of those powers.

Senate Bill No. 3454 contradicts a prior law that banned smoking tobacco products on beaches and boardwalks, and not that law may be essentially unenforceable when it comes to smoking marijuana on beaches and boardwalks.

In 2018, the Berkeley Township Council introduced and later passed a resolution a week after Point Pleasant Beach did that bans the sale of marijuana and paraphernalia across the entire township.

As for the Abortion resolution introduced on Monday night, (a copy of which was also obtained by Townsquare Media News) the Berkeley Council raised the red flag in opposition of Senate Bill 3030/Assembly Bill 4848, known as the Reproductive Freedom Act currently under consideration at the Statehouse in Trenton.

Council President Guadagno and the Council said that they "strongly urge the State Legislature to oppose S3030/A4848."

They said the act of Abortion and this bill, "poses threats to human life and dignity, as it threatens the life of unborn children and will remove existing laws and regulations intended to protect the life and health of mothers and if enacted would allow the termination of pregnancies by non-physicians in non-hospital settings at any time throughout then nine months of a pregnancy, posing significant health risks and can lead to the termination of pregnancies during the last trimester, which may be unsafe and unconscionable."

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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