The Garden State has taken big steps to legalize the personal use of marijuana, but harsh laws still prohibit its use in various forms
Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. In New Jersey, marijuana includes all parts of the plant genus Cannabis L., whether it is growing. The term consists of the flowers, leaves, seeds and every compound, manufacture, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds. Marijuana does not include the resin or oil, called hashish, extracted from the plant.
New Jersey has legalized the use of medical marijuana since 2010, recently taken steps to forgo prosecuting marijuana cases, and proposed legislation to allow the personal use of marijuana. Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey Attorney General, called on state prosecutors and agreed to ask municipal prosecutors to adjourn marijuana cases until September 4, or later. The moratorium gives Grewal’s office time to develop guidance for prosecutors considering pending legislation.
In June 2018, legislation was introduced to legalize personal marijuana use by adults over 21 years old. The proposed bills allow the possession, use, purchase, or transport of one ounce or less of marijuana, 16 ounces of edibles (marijuana-infused products in solid form), 72 ounces or less marijuana in liquid form, and seven grams or less of hashish.
The proposed legislation is not current law. The current state codes have some of the harshest penalties in the United States if you are caught with 50 grams or less of marijuana, including edibles, or five grams or less of hashish in New Jersey, you are a “Disorderly Person.” Disorderly Persons are subject to a fine up to $1,000 and a maximum six-month prison sentence. If you are caught with more than 50 grams of marijuana or more than 5 grams of hashish, it is a crime in the 4th degree punishable by a maximum fine of $25,000 and up to 18 months imprisonment.
Don’t assume you won’t be arrested and prosecuted for personal marijuana use. There have been no official acts to decriminalize its use. Even if the governor signs a bill to decriminalize or legalize marijuana, it won’t be a free ticket to use marijuana everywhere and drive under the influence of marijuana, and it won’t take effect until January 1, 2019. The proposed legislation provides for local governments to enact ordinances and regulations marijuana establishments and marijuana possession and use remains illegal under federal law and on federal properties, such as park reserves, post offices, and federal courts.
Contact our Freehold New Jersey drug defense attorneys for top-notch representation
If you face criminal charges for the possession, sale, or use of marijuana in New Jersey, criminal defense lawyers at Lomurro Law are prepared to defend you. Our Freehold criminal law attorneys defend clients in municipal and criminal courts throughout the Garden State. Donald M. Lomurro is a designated Criminal Trial Attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court and Jonathan Lomurro and Richard Lomurro earned LL.M. degrees in trial advocacy. Our in-depth defense strategies focus on protecting your rights and preserving your liberty. To discuss your case today, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online or visit our offices in Freehold and East Brunswick.