New Jersey Marijuana Laws

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Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In New Jersey, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (NJ Stat. Ann. § 24:21-5.) However, despite being a Schedule I drug, New Jersey does allow medical marijuana use under limited circumstances. And while not covered in this article, it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in New Jersey.

To learn about New Jersey's medical marijuana laws, see New Jersey Medical Marijuana Laws.

For information about charges and penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana in New Jersey, see Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in New Jersey.

Marijuana Possession

It is a crime to knowingly or intentionally possess marijuana (including small amounts for personal use) in New Jersey. Penalties vary according to the amount possessed. Second and subsequent convictions may be punished with up to double to penalties described below. (NJ Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-5 & 2C:36-2.)

  • Up to 50 grams. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to six months in jail, or both.
  • 50 grams or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both.
  • Possession within 1,000 feet of a school zone , public park, or public housing. In addition to the penalties described above ( which are based on the amount possessed), the judge will order at least 100 hours of community service for possessing marijuana in a school zone, public park, or public housing area. For crimes where the defendant possessed the marijuana with the intent to sell it (as opposed to for personal use, as described in this section), additional penalties will apply, as described below.

Cultivation

It is illegal to cultivate marijuana in New Jersey. Penalties vary according to the number of plants cultivated. Second and subsequent convictions may be punished with up to double to penalties described below. (NJ Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-4.)

  • Up to ten plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, between three and five years in prison, or both.
  • Between ten and 49 plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $150,000, between five and ten years in prison, or both.
  • 50 or more plants. Penalties include a fine of up to $300,000, between ten and 20 years in prison, or both.

Sale

Selling marijuana (or possessing marijuana with the intent to do so) in New Jersey is illegal. Violations are penalized according to the amount possessed or sold; with additional penalties for violations within a school zone, or for violations involving a minor or a pregnant woman. Second and subsequent convictions may also be punished with up to double to penalties described below. (NJ Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-7.)

  • Up to one ounce. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both.
  • Between one ounce and five pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000, between three and five years in prison, or both.
  • Between five and 25 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $150,000, between five and ten years in prison, or both.
  • More than 25 pounds. Penalties include a fine of up to $300,000, between ten and 20 years in prison, or both.
  • Sales within a school zone, public park, or public housing area. Penalties include an additional fine of up to $150,000, and ineligibility for parole or early release for up to one half of the applicable prison sentence.
  • Sale to a minor or to a pregnant woman. A defendant who sold marijuana to someone that the defendant knew was a minor or a pregnant woman will face double the applicable fine and jail time (according to the amount sold).

Drug Paraphernalia

It is illegal in New Jersey to use or sell drug paraphernalia (or possess paraphernalia with the intent to do so). Paraphernalia includes items used in growing, harvesting, processing, selling, storing, or using marijuana. Penalties vary according to the violation, with harsher penalties for sales to a minor. (NJ Stat. Ann. § 2C:36-1.)

Use

Using paraphernalia (or possessing it with the intent to do so) may be punished with a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail, or both.

Sales

Penalties for selling paraphernalia to adults include a fine of up to $10,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both. Selling paraphernalia to a minor is punishable with a fine of up to $15,000, between three and five years in prison, or both.

The Value of Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a marijuana-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.

by: , Contributing Author

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