ACLU-NJ Campaign Strategist Ami Kachalia issued the following statement on the signing of legislation concerning youth alcohol possession (S3954/A5610) after a conditional veto to remove fines and criminal penalties: 

“We are grateful that Gov. Murphy and the Legislature heeded the call of youth justice advocates across the state and stopped the reinstatement of fines and criminal penalties for youth alcohol possession, which would have disproportionately harmed low-income, Black, and Latinx youth. Our concerns about S3954/A5610 eroding protections against police misconduct toward youth remain. Instead of pursuing punitive approaches to substance use, we encourage lawmakers to invest in evidence-based public health responses that better protect the health and safety of youth and their families.”