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New Jersey Lawmakers Propose Cannabis Decriminalization Measures

June 18, 2020

New Jersey lawmakers in the General Assembly and Senate will be voting on a bill that would lessen legal consequences for cannabis possession in the state. According to reports from one of the leading media outlets in the state, lawmakers are currently looking into two cannabis decriminalization measures. 

The ACDAC (Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee) on June 15, 2020, advanced one of the decriminalization measures; the merger of A4269 and A1897. These measures will seek to lessen the legal punishment for possession of cannabis. Also, it will increase the expungement relief for some of the past cannabis convictions in the state. 

Current Legal Punishments 

Currently, individuals found in possession of one ounce to five pounds of cannabis with or without intent to distribute will be sentenced to three (3) to five (5) years in prison and will be forced to pay fines of up to $25,000 in cash. Distributing an ounce of cannabis under the current law will see an offender do 18 months of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000. 

New Decriminalization Measures 

The A1897 measure currently seeks cannabis decriminalization for the possession of 10 grams of marijuana. It also seeks to replace arrests with fines of just $150 for a first-time case and $200 for a second violation. For further violations, offenders will have to pay a fine of $500 under the new cannabis decriminalization measure. 

The A4269 measure will impose a $50 fine for possession of up to two (2) ounces of cannabis. In addition to this, new punishments are being stipulated for individuals found with more than two ounces of cannabis. 

New Measure By The Senate 

Some of the lawmakers in the Senate have pushed for broader cannabis decriminalization in the form of a new measure; SB2535. According to this new measure, a written warning will be issued to individuals found in possession of cannabis and will be made to pay a fine of $25 if found in possession subsequently.