The legalization of marijuana is a hot topic in the U.S. Many states have taken steps toward its de-criminalization, while others still issue severe criminal punishments for possessing even small amounts of marijuana - New Jersey lies somewhere in the middle. While it is still illegal to possess marijuana for non-medical purposes, the laws have lightened the punishments for users possessing very small amounts of pot.
Below is a brief overview of New Jersey's marijuana laws:
Patients who have been prescribed medical marijuana, or who have doctor recommendations, can possess up to two ounces per month. Only certain doctors are qualified to recommend medical marijuana.
If you do not have a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana possession of any amount of the drug is illegal for any purpose. However, not all charges are treated equally.
Possession of less than 50 grams is a disorderly person's offense. A disorderly person's offense is similar to a misdemeanor. It is still a crime, but the consequences of a conviction are less serious.
If you are convicted of a disorderly person's offense for marijuana possession, you face up to $1,000 in fines and a possible six months in jail, as well as the possibility of 100 hours of community service.
Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana is an indictable crime. Indictable crimes are similar to felonies and punishment for a conviction is severe. An indictable possession charge alone can result in fines up to $25,000 and up to a year and a half in prison.
Depending on the circumstances you could be charged with possession with the intent to distribute. Penalties for this crime are much more severe and depend on the amount of marijuana involved. For example:
- One ounce to five pounds can result in up to five years in jail and $25,000 in fines.
- Five pounds to 25 pounds carries a jail sentence up to 10 years and up to $150,000 in fines.
- 25 pounds or more can result in up to 20 years in jail and $300,000 in fines.
If you find yourself facing criminal charges for marijuana possession, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.