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New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties - Archive

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Julie Gardener

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New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law Overview​

SUMMARY: Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act into law on January 18, 2010. As initially passed, the law was scheduled to take effect in July 2010. However, lawmakers in June amended the legislation at the behest of Republican Gov. Chris Christie to delay the enactment of the law until October 1, 2010. The law mandates the state to promulgate rules governing the distribution of medical cannabis to state-authorized patients. These rules shall address the creation of up to six state-licensed "alternative treatment centers." Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cancer, glaucoma, seizure and/or spasticity disorders (including epilepsy), Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease), any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year. Other conditions are subject to approval by the state Department of Health. Patients authorized to use marijuana under this act will not be permitted to cultivate their own cannabis, and are limited to the possession of two ounces of marijuana per month. Additional information on this measure is available here.

The medical use provisions in New Jersey do not include reciprocity provisions protecting visitors from other medical use states.

On Feb. 3, 2011, DHHS proposed new rules (200 KB) that streamlined the permit process for cultivating and dispensing, prohibited home delivery by alternative treatment centers, and required that "conditions originally named in the Act be resistant to conventional medical therapy in order to qualify as debilitating medical conditions."

Information provided by the state on sources for medical marijuana:
Patients are not allowed to grow their own marijuana. On Mar. 21, 2011, the New Jersey DHHS announced the locations of six nonprofit alternative treatment centers (ATCs) (100 KB) from which medical marijuana may be obtained. ATCs are anticipated to be open in the Northern, Central, and Southern Regions of the state by summer 2011.

POSSESSION/CULTIVATION: Physicians determine how much marijuana a patient needs and give written instructions to be presented to an alternative treatment center. The maximum amount for a 30-day period is two ounces.

• 2 oz usable

CAREGIVERS: Yes. Primary Caregiver is a person who has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana. Primary caregiver cannot be the patient’s physician. Primary caregiver must be a resident of New Jersey. The primary caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony drug offense. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The caregiver may only have one qualifying patient at any one time. N.J. Stat. Ann. §24:6I-3 (2010).

(Registration process for caregivers has not yet been determined.)

PATIENT REGISTRATION FEE: $200 (valid for two years). Reduced fee of $20 for patients qualifying for state or federal assistance programs

• Registration: Mandatory

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Department of Health and Senior Services
Medical Marijuana Program

P. O. Box 360,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Phone: (609) 292-7837
Toll-free in NJ: 1-800-367-6543


New Jersey Marijuana Penalties​


Possession

♦ 50 g or less - disorderly persons offense Incarceration 6 months Fine $1,000

♦ More than 50 g - felony Incarceration 18 months Fine $25,000

♦ Within 1,000 feet of school - depends on quantity Incarceration additional minimum 100 hours community service Fine depends on quantity


Cultivation

♦ Less than 10 plants - felony Incarceration 3 - 5 years Fine $25,000

♦ 10 to 49 plants - felony Incarceration 5 - 10 years Fine $150,000

♦ 50 or more plants - felony Incarceration 10 - 20 years* Fine $300,000

*Mandatory minimum sentence.


Distribution or Possession with intent to distribute

♦ Less than 1 oz - felony Incarceration 18 months Fine $25,000

♦ 1 oz or more, but less than 5 pounds - felony Incarceration 3 - 5 years Fine $25,000

♦ 5 pounds or more, but less than 25 pounds - felony Incarceration 5 - 10 years Fine $150,000

♦ 25 pounds or more - felony Incarceration 10 - 20 years* Fine $300,000

♦ Within 1,000 feet of school property or school bus - felony Incarceration Parole ineligibility for 1/3 - 1/2 of total sentence* Fine $150,000

♦ Within 500 feet of certain public property involving less than 1 oz - felony Incarceration 3 - 5 years Fine $25,000

♦ Within 500 feet of certain public property involving 1 oz or more - felony Incarceration 5 - 10 years Fine $150,000

♦ To minors or pregnant females - felony Incarceration double penalty Fine double penalty

*Mandatory minimum sentence with limited exceptions.


Miscellaneous (paraphernalia, license suspensions, drug tax stamps, etc...)

♦ Paraphernalia possession or use - disorderly persons offense Incarceration 6 months Fine $1,000

♦ Paraphernalia sale - felony Incarceration 18 months Fine $10,000

♦ Paraphernalia sale to a person under 18 years - felony Incarceration 3 -5 years Fine $15,000


Details

Any conviction for the offenses detailed above carries a mandatory $500-$3,000 fine and a 6 to 24 month driver's license forfeiture, unless the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception.

Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana or being under the influence of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Possession of greater than 50 grams is punishable by up to 18 month in jail and a fine of up to $25,000. Any possession within 1,000 feet of a school adds an additional 100 hours or more of community service to the sentence.

Manufacture or distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $10,000. For amounts of one ounce or more, the penalty increases to 3 - 5 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Manufacture or sale of five pounds or more or cultivation of 10 - 50 plants is punishable by 5 - 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000. For amounts of 25 pounds or greater, or cultivation of greater than 50 plants, the penalties increase to 10 - 20 years in prison and a fine up to $300,000.

Subsequent convictions for distribution or possession with intent to distribute expose you to extended terms of incarceration with mandatory minimums. For example, a second conviction for distribution or possession with intent to distribute one oz or more (but less than 5 pounds) will expose you to a 5 - 10 year sentence with a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility, as opposed to a standard 3 - 5 year sentence.

If you are growing more than 10 plants you can be charged with operating or maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility. This is a 1st degree felony carrying 10 - 20 years of incarceration and a mandatory minimum period of parole ineligibility equal to 1/3 to 1/2 of the sentence imposed. An additional fine of up to $750,000 may be imposed.

Sale or distribution of marijuana within 1,000 feet of school property or on a school bus adds the imposition of a minimum sentence, with limited exceptions. For less than one ounce of marijuana, the minimum sentence imposed is between one-third and one-half of the total sentence or one year, whichever is greater. For one ounce or more, the minimum sentence imposed is between one-third and one-half of the total sentence or three years, whichever is greater. An additional fine of up to $150,000 may also be imposed for these violations.

Sale or distribution of marijuana within 500 feet of public housing, a public park or a public building increases the possible penalties. For sale of less than one ounce, the penalty increases by 3 - 5 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Sale or distribution in these zones of one ounce or more is punishable by 5 - 10 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000.

Distribution to minors or pregnant females increases the penalty to twice the possible sentence.

Use or possession of paraphernalia is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.

Distribution of paraphernalia is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $10,000. Any distribution of paraphernalia to a person under 18 years of age is punishable by 3 - 5 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.

Mandatory minimum sentence: When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a lifesentence with no chance of parole.

Medical marijuana: This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective.

Warning: The information contained in this report is for informational purposes only. Individuals are encouraged to confirm their state's laws before engaging in any particular behavior, or before going to court without a lawyer. Marijuana laws and penalties change rapidly and are enforced and interpreted differently even in the same legal jurisdiction. Please consult a criminal defense lawyer if you have been busted or if you want to know how a particular conduct might be punished. If you spot an error or have information that should be included please let us know.

Source: NORML and 16 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC - Medical Marijuana - ProCon.org

Be informed an be well. Let's keep working to change these state laws/penalties as they are unfair to everyone.
:Namaste:

See New Jersey: Medical Marijuana Law Overview and State Fines/Penalties for more up to date information regarding state laws and penalties.
 
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