New Jersey Marijuana Laws
Several states have decriminalized the recreational use and possession of small amounts of marijuana, including Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Further, numerous states, including New Jersey, have approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
According to several reports, New Jersey may soon join other states in decriminalizing the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. However, excluding qualified medical marijuana users, it is still a criminal offense to possess marijuana in New Jersey.
If you were arrested or charged with a marijuana-related offense, it could be important to your future that you contact an experienced and aggressive marijuana lawyer. Being charged and convicted with a marijuana-related offense can mean paying fines, facing jail time, losing your driver’s license, and other collateral consequences but a skilled criminal attorney may be able to help you pursue a positive outcome to your case. Work with a lawyer that has an understanding of New Jersey marijuana laws that could fight for you.Fighting Marijuana Possession Charges
Generally, to be charged with possession of marijuana, a police officer needs to find marijuana on someone’s person, typically meaning in their pockets or in their hand. However, under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, New Jersey also recognizes the concept of constructive possession, which means that a person can still be charged with possession of marijuana if they have the ability to exercise control over the substance as well as the intent to do so.
An example of constructive possession would be if a police officer searches a person’s car during a traffic stop and finds marijuana in the glove compartment. However, there are ways to challenge and fight a marijuana possession charge based on constructive possession that a New Jersey marijuana attorney could help an individual explore.What are the Penalties for Possessing Marijuana in New Jersey?The penalties in New Jersey for possessing marijuana depend on the amount of marijuana allegedly possessed. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4), possessing 50 grams or less of marijuana is considered a disorderly persons offense.
For a disorderly persons offense, a New Jersey resident may be fined up to $1,000 and may face a potential jail sentence of up to six months. In addition, a judge may suspend that person’s driver’s license for anywhere between six and 24 months.
However, under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4), possessing more than 50 grams of marijuana is considered a fourth-degree crime, for which a convicted person may face a prison sentence of up to eighteen months, as well as a fine of $25,000. Being convicted of a fourth-degree crime can also result in a driver’s license suspension of up to 24 months.Medical Marijuana and Changing Laws
New Jersey marijuana laws have allowed qualifying individuals to use medical marijuana since 2010 when the legislature enacted The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act of 2010. Under this law, if a person qualifies and receives a prescription from a licensed physician, they may possess up to two ounces of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
However, it is important to note that those who qualify to use and possess medical marijuana can still be charged with a marijuana-related offense. If a person has more than two ounces of marijuana on their person, they may be charged with a possession offense in accordance with the weights set forth above, even if they have a medical marijuana card.How a New Jersey Marijuana Attorney Could Help
Even though general attitudes and laws regarding marijuana are changing, police and New Jersey courts still take marijuana charges seriously—as do state prosecutors who aggressively pursue convictions for marijuana-related offenses.
If you or a loved one were charged with a marijuana-related offense, consider contacting an experienced and aggressive marijuana lawyer with knowledge of New Jersey marijuana laws. A local marijuana attorney could examine your case and help defend your rights and freedom by mounting a vigorous defense in court. Call today to schedule an initial consultation.