Mayor’s Message: Town Hall Meeting May 22

Mayor’s Message: Town Hall Meeting May 22

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Mayor Jay Gillian

Following is a statement from the Office of Mayor Jay Gillian:

Community members, residents, homeowners, business owners and visitors, Mayor Jay Gillian and Police Chief Jay Prettyman are holding a Town Hall Meeting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 22 at the Ocean City Tabernacle (550 Wesley Avenue).

We are anticipating an exceptionally busy summer in Ocean City as the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues and people are anxious to return to normal.

But now that New Jersey has legalized the use of recreational marijuana and essentially eliminated sanctions for underage possession and use of marijuana and alcohol, the summer could feel very different.

The town hall meeting will be designed to educate people about these new laws and the strict guidelines on how they can be enforced. It will outline our plans to address these issues.

And it will let the entire community know how to help. 

Some of the topics that will be discussed include:

New marijuana laws: Police are bracing for Memorial Day and beyond, when the odor of marijuana may become more common. It’s crucial for the public to understand what their police officers can and cannot do under the new law.

Juvenile justice reform: If an underage person refuses to turn over marijuana or alcohol, or won’t provide identification upon request, police can no longer make an arrest or conduct any search beyond what is in plain sight. Police can no longer arrest or detain an underage person caught with pot or alcohol. They can only issue a verbal warning or notify parents/guardians.

Police liability: State lawmakers have essentially decriminalized marijuana and alcohol possession for children. Yet they criminalized the good-faith actions of police who may make honest mistakes by trying to investigate and comply with the new law. If a police officer runs afoul of any regulations listed in nearly 300 pages of new legislation, that officer can be subject to a third-degree criminal charge.

The tools we will use: Existing ordinances on noise, disorderly conduct and other violations will give police the ability to curb disruptive behavior by juveniles or adults. A large class of seasonal officers will give the department the ability to increase police presence citywide.

How the community can help:

Now, more than ever, we need partners in the community to call us when violations are happening. There often is little we can do after the fact.

I encourage you all to attend this meeting as we all look forward to another safe and enjoyable summer.

Respectfully,

Mayor Jay Gillian and Police Chief Jay Prettyman