Marijuana — also known as pot, weed, bud and Mary Jane — is a plant-based drug. Smoking marijuana can get a person high; the drug is also used medicinally. Marijuana drug laws around the country and in New Jersey have been changing to accommodate marijuana use.
In New Jersey, the majority of marijuana laws deal with:
- Possession with intent to distribute
- Failure to turn over marijuana to a nearby police officer
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Drug paraphernalia
These laws are applicable for:
- Hashish, also known as hash
- Marijuana or hashish concentrates
The law can be confusing, however. For example, medical marijuana has been legal since 2010. While it is legal to possess 2 ounces of marijuana with a prescription from a doctor, possession of the same amount of non-medical marijuana is punishable by 18 months in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Driving under the influence of marijuana in NJ breaks DWI/DUI laws, just the same as alcohol laws, and comes with serious penalties.
Possession Of Marijuana In NJ
Nine states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, but possession of marijuana that has not been medically prescribed is still a serious offense in New Jersey.
|Possession||Charge||Maximum Jail Time||Maximum Fine||Additional Penalties|
|50 grams or less||Disorderly Person||6 months||$1,000||–|
|<50 grams||Felony||18 months||$25,000||–|
|Within 1,000 feet of a school||–||–||Additional fine (variable depending on quantity)||100 hours of community service|
|In a motor vehicle||Traffic Offense||–||–||2 years loss of driving privilege|
Distribution Or Possession With The Intent To Distribute In NJ
Twenty-nine states — including New Jersey — and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical marijuana. If you do not have a license to dispense marijuana in New Jersey, distribution is a serious offense with stiff penalties.
|Distribution||Charge||Jail Time||Maximum Fine|
|>1 ounce||Crime – 4th degree||18 months, with a minimum sentence of ½ or ⅓ of the sentence||$25,000|
|1 ounce – >5 pounds||Crime – 3rd degree||3–5 years||$25,000|
|5 – >25 pounds||Crime – 2nd degree||5–10 years||$150,000|
|25 pounds or more||Crime – 1st degree||10 years (mandatory) – 20 years||$300,000|
|Within 1,000 feet of school property or school bus||Crime – 3rd degree||3 years (mandatory) – 5 years||$150,000|
|>1 ounce within 500 feet of certain public property||Crime – 3rd degree||3–5 years||$25,000|
|<1 ounce within 500 feet of certain public property||Felony||5–10 years||$150,000|
|Sale to minors or pregnant women||Felony||Double||Double|
Cultivation OF Marijuana In NJ
Growing marijuana in New Jersey is illegal. Patients who have been prescribed marijuana must purchase it from a state-licensed dispensary.
|Cultivation||Charge||Maximum Jail Time||Maximum Fine|
|1 ounce – >5 pounds/ >10 plants||Crime – 3rd degree||3–5 years||$25,000|
|5 – >25 pounds/10 – >50 plants||Crime – 2nd degree||5–10 years||$150,000|
|<50 lbs/<50 plants||Crime – 1st degree||10 years (mandatory) – 20 years||$300,000|
Hashish & Concentrates Charges
The state of New Jersey defines hashish as “the resin extracted from any part of the plant Genus Cannabis L. and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin.”
|Hashish and Concentrates||Charge||Maximum Jail Time||Maximum Fine|
|Possession: 5 grams or less||Disorderly Person||6 months||$1,000|
|Possession: <5 grams||Crime – 4th degree||18 months||$25,000|
|Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing with intent of distribution: >5 grams||Crime – 4th degree||18 months||$25,000|
|Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of distribution: 5 grams – >1 pound||Crime – 3rd degree||3–5 years||$25,000|
|Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of distribution: 1 pound – >5 pounds||Crime – 2nd degree||5–10 years||$150,000|
|Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of distribution: 5 pounds or more||Crime – 1st degree||10–20 years||$200,000|
|Within 1,000 feet of school property or school bus||Crime – 3rd degree||3 years (mandatory) – 15 years||$150,000|
Drug paraphernalia refers to any equipment that is used to produce, conceal and consume illicit drugs, such as pipes and cigarette papers.
|Paraphernalia||Charge||Maximum Jail Time||Maximum Fine|
|Possession or use of paraphernalia||Disorderly Person||6 months||$1,000|
|Sale of paraphernalia||Crime – 4th degree||18 months||$10,000|
|Sale of paraphernalia to minors||Crime – 3rd degree||3–5 years||$25,000|
Marijuana Case Defense
If you an are an adult or juvenile facing drug charges, you need an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer on your side. We understand your situation and will work with you to aggressively defend and/or negotiate the best possible outcome for you. Among other strategies, we will work to determine:
- If the stop by law enforcement was constitutional.
- If the search of the person, home or vehicle was constitutional.
- If there was proper chain of custody and testing of the marijuana.
If this is your first prosecution, we will work towards trying to obtain conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for you. In many cases, conditional release lets you choose probation instead of a trial. Once the probation has been completed successfully, the charge does not appear on your criminal record.
If you are facing marijuana charges, it is critically important that you contact an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to plan your defense.