As the number of states opting to legalize the possession of marijuana for personal use increases, many legislators in New Jersey have made it clear that legalization is a priority for them. While Governor Christie has vehemently opposed the legalization of marijuana and will almost certainly refuse to sign any legalization laws, legislators are looking ahead and preparing legislation and research for the possibility of a new administration next year. Some potentially viable candidates for governor have expressed that they favor legalization or at least substantial decriminalization of marijuana.
As it has in states such as Colorado, the legalization of marijuana is predicted to provide a significant boost to the economy in New Jersey and increase state tax revenue. It will also reduce or eliminate criminal charges and sentences for low-level marijuana offenders.
Legalization does not eliminate all marijuana-related crime, however. Instead, it will allow people to possess a relatively small amount for their own personal use. It will also allow licensed dispensaries to sell a variety of marijuana products to residents for their own personal use. Certain acts will still be criminal offenses, including the following:
- Possessing more than is permitted;
- Possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute;
- Selling marijuana without a proper license;
- Cultivating marijuana for more than personal use;
- Taking marijuana across state lines;
- Involvement in a marijuana trafficking scheme.
The Current Law Remains in Place
It is critical to realize that proposed legislation does not alter the current laws on the books in New Jersey. It is still a violation to possess any amount of marijuana for any purpose in our state and doing so can land you in jail and facing criminal charges and penalties, including fines. Some penalties for marijuana possession in NJ include:
- Possession of 50 grams or less = Disorderly Person’s offense, fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail;
- Possession of more than 50 grams = Criminal charge, fine up to $25,000 and up to eighteen months in jail (for a first offense).
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The legalization of marijuana would bring substantial changes to the laws of New Jersey and the way law enforcement handles possession of marijuana cases. At the law office of David C. Barry, Attorney at Law, we stay informed of any potential new developments in criminal laws so we can always best represent the rights and interests of our clients. If you have been cited or arrested for any type of offense, please call a skilled criminal defense lawyer today.