New Jersey’s Call for Legalization
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has called for the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in the state in an effort to reduce the amount of individuals that are incarcerated for possession of very small amounts of the drug, to reduce disparate impact of policing of marijuana use, possession, and sale on communities of color, and to take the profit out of the hands of dealers and use the tax revenues to benefit the state. However, a call for legalization does not mean that the law will pass, so in the meantime people need to be familiar with the current laws in place and what they can mean for you if you are caught.
Marijuana Use Has Only Been Legalized for Medicinal Purposes
New Jersey did take the step of legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes in 2010, when it authorized doctors to prescribe marijuana for individuals suffering from specific medical conditions. The list is limited in scope and does not cover as many conditions as other states with medical marijuana laws. However, in order to be legally in possession of marijuana under this law, it must be prescribed by your physician, and you must purchase your marijuana from one of the six licensed facilities in the state. No other method of obtaining the drug is legal.
Marijuana Possession in Evesham Township in the Absence of a Medical Authorization is Still a Crime
Marijuana possession – regardless of the amount – in New Jersey is still illegal. Some states have taken the step of decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of the drug, but New Jersey is not one of those states. Under current New Jersey law, possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana can result in a disorderly persons charge. For comparison, a golf ball weighs just under 50 grams, while two “AA” batteries weigh just over 50 grams. So what happens if you have two “AA” batteries’ worth of marijuana in your possession, instead of a golf ball’s worth? You have gone from being receiving a disorderly persons charge to being charged with a 4th degree crime. The difference is drastic: disorderly persons charges generally carry penalties of no more than six months in prison and no more than a $1,000 fine, while a 4th degree crime can result in up to 18 months in jail, and up to a $25,000 fine. From there, the possible penalties only go up as the amount possessed increases.
Are There Ways to Avoid Harsh Penalties for Possession of Less Than 50 Grams in Willingboro?
New Jersey does have a conditional discharge program, which is designed to keep certain individuals convicted of possession of less than 50 grams or other marijuana paraphernalia out of jail. In order for a person to be eligible for the conditional discharge program, they must:
- Not have been previously convicted for possession of a dangerous controlled substance
- Not have previously utilized the program to avoid jail time or harsh punishment
- Not violate the terms of the discharge agreement. If the terms are violated, the individual must start with their charges at the very beginning
Probation in these diversions is usually one year, but can last up to three. The participant must adhere to the program’s requirements in order to avoid a conviction being added to their criminal record.
Contact an Experienced Camden 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 Office of Michele Finizio represent clients charged with use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Burlington Township, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 230-0374 or fill out our confidential online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office located at 9 E. Main St, Moorestown, NJ 08057.
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.