Lawmakers in New Jersey recently introduced a new bill designed to reduce punishments for possessing marijuana. Right now, people who possess a relatively small amount of marijuana can be arrested, at which time seeking the help of a criminal defense attorney is critical. However, if the bill becomes a law, these individuals would instead be given fines.
According to the bill, called S2535, the possession or distribution of under a pound of weed would essentially be decriminalized. Specifically, a violator would get a warning for his or her fist offense. Then, he or she would receive a $25 fine for a second offense as well as subsequent offenses. The new bill would not make the drug legal, however.
When it comes to larger amounts of the drug, right now, people who possess an ounce to five ounces of marijuana may receive between three and five years behind bars as well as a fine of $25,000. However, under the brand-new bill, people who are caught with over a pound of the drug would get an offense for being disorderly individuals. This would lead to six months behind bars and potential fines of $1,000.
According to a state senator, the state of New Jersey had been issuing too harsh of a penalty for a marijuana offense despite the fact that the drug’s danger level is not as high compared with cocaine and heroin. Therefore, a lighter punishment for marijuana possession/distribution is seen as warranted. Whether or not the new bill becomes a law, a strong criminal defense will be important for effectively protecting one’s rights and best interests in the New Jersey criminal justice system.