The state of New Jersey has been pushing for the decriminalization of marijuana in order to reduce arrests, for many years. In recent news, progress has finally been made. The newest bill, Bill A1897, has finally made its way through the New Jersey Assembly. The bill purposes marijuana users face a $50 fine, rather than jail time.
Goals Behind the Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
The state’s criminal drug arrests have been increasing, despite many of these arrests involving minimal-risk drugs, like marijuana. Previously, individuals who were arrested with any amount of marijuana could face jail time and expensive legal fines. That is, until Bill A1897, was introduced, which would decriminalize marijuana possession of up to two-ounces.
There is currently another bill in the state Legislature, which proposes that possession of marijuana, of up to one pound of weed, also be decriminalized. This bill, however, was just recently introduced to the state Senate and will not yet be voted on. However, the State Assembly successfully passed the A1897 Bill with a 63-10 vote.
This means that instead of facing arrests, individuals who have less than two ounces of marijuana on them, will instead face a fine of $50. Individuals who have slightly over the two ounce limit will face sliding scales of legal charges, rather than strict jail time.
Will Marijuana Ever Be Legal in New Jersey?
This loosening on marijuana restrictions leads many to wonder if the state will ever legalize marijuana entirely. While this has been discussed and is a common topic of debate, it is still unclear if New Jersey will follow other states that have legalized it. However, the concern will make it on the ballot this election in November.
The proposal will ask voters to vote on whether or not marijuana sales should be legal for individuals over the age of 21 years. Public sales will allow the state to collect taxes.
What This Means for Criminal Drug Charges
Criminal drug charges can have significant consequences on your life. In addition to a criminal record, you could also find it difficult to find a job or obtain student loans if you are convicted of criminal drug charges. Many believe that the current consequences for possessing a minimal amount of marijuana is too much.
The state of New Jersey is known for being strict when it comes to the possession and use of drugs, even marijuana. Many hope that this new bill will reduce the number of non-violent and recreational marijuana use arrests.
The bill would not only prevent further marijuana arrests from ruining peoples’ lives, but it would also proactively reduce legal consequences of those already facing them.
It would also prevent officers from unjustly searching someone, simply because they suspect marijuana usage. It is important to note that while this bill has recently passed the New Jersey Assembly, it must still make it through the state Senate. If it makes it past that point, then it will require the governor, Phil Murphy, to sign the bill.
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Drug Defense Attorney About Your Marijuana Drug Crime Charges in New Jersey
Have you been charged with a drug related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified drug defense lawyer about your case. The Law Offices of Michele Finizio represents clients charged with drug use, possession, production, distribution, and related offenses in Evesham Township, Mount Laurel, Willingboro, Pemberton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057, in addition to an office located in Cherry Hill, NJ.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.