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

David Bowman

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Penalty Details
See:
  • 24:21-1, et seq. of the New Jersey Criminal Code
Possession
Possession of 50 grams or less is a "Disorderly Person" offense punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Possession of more than 50 grams is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Possession within 1,000 feet of a school adds a sentence of 100 hours of community service to the sentence, as well a variable (depending on quantity) additional fine.

See:
  • Section 2C:5-10(a)(4) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Distribution or Possession with the Intent to Distribute
Sale or distribution of less than 1 oz. is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Sale or distribution of 1 oz.- 5 lbs. is a felony punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Sale or distribution of 5 lbs.-25 lbs. is a felony punishable by a sentence of 5-10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000.

Sale or distribution of 25 lbs. or more is a felony punishable by a sentence of 10-20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $300,000.*

*A mandatory minimum sentence (with limited exceptions) shall be imposed.

Sale within 1,000 feet of school property or a school bus is a felony which is punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000.

If the violation involves less than 1 oz., a mandatory minimum sentence of either 1/2 or 1/3 of the sentence shall be imposed.

Sale or distribution of less than 1 oz. within 500 feet of certain public property is a felony punishable by 3-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Sale or distribution of more than 1 oz. within 500 feet of certain public property is a felony punishable by 5-10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000.

Sale to minors or pregnant women is a felony which carries with a doubling of the term of imprisonment and the fine.

See:
  • Section 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Cultivation
Cultivation of 1 oz.-5 lbs. (less than 10 plants) is a felony punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Cultivation of 5 lbs.- 25 lbs. (10-49 plants) is a felony punishable by a sentence of 5-10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000.

Cultivation of more than 25 lbs. (50 or more plants) is a felony punishable by a sentence of 10-20 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $300,000.*

* A mandatory minimum sentence shall be imposed.

See:
  • Section 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Hash & Concentrates
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 is a Schedule I controlled substance.

See:
  • Section 24:21-2 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 24:21-5(e) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Possessing hashish is a disorderly person offense punishable by a fine no greater than $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 6 months. Possessing 5 grams or more of hashish is a crime in the fourth degree punishable by a fine no greater than $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 18 months.

See:
  • Section 2C:35-10 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-3 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-8 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense less than 5 grams of hashish is a crime in the fourth degree punishable by a fine no greater than $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 18 months. If the amount of hashish is 5 grams or more but less than 1 pound, the offense is a crime in the third degree punishable by a fine no greater than $15,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than 3 years and no greater than 5 years. If the amount of hashish involved was 1 pound or greater but less than 5 pounds, the offense is a crime in the second degree punishable by a fine no greater than $150,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than 5 years and no greater than 10 years. If the amount of hashish involved was 5 pounds or greater, the offense is a crime in the first degree punishable by a fine no greater than $200,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than 10 years and no greater than 20 years.

See:
  • Section 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-3 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-6 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense hashish within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus stop is a crime in the third degree punishable by a fine no greater than $150,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than a mandatory 3 years and no greater than 5 years. Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense hashish within 500 feet of a public housing facility, public park, public library, or public museum is a crime in the second degree punishable by a fine no greater than $150,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than 5 years and no greater than 10 years.

See:
  • Section 2C:35-7 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-3 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-6 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Any device or equipment that is used to create hashish is considered drug paraphernalia. Using or possessing with intent to use any such device is a disorderly person offense punishable by a fine no greater than $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 6 months. Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense any such device or equipment is a crime in the fourth degree punishable by a fine no greater than $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 18 months. Advertising the sale of any such device or equipment is a crime in the fourth degree punishable by a fine no greater than $10,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no greater than 18 months. Delivering any such equipment by someone over the age of 18 to someone under the age of 18 is a crime in the third degree punishable by a fine no greater than $15,000 and/or a term of imprisonment no less than 3 years and no greater than 5 years.

See:
  • Section 2C:36-1 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-3 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-8 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:36-3 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:43-6 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:36-4 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:36-5 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Paraphernalia
Possession or use of paraphernalia is a "Disorderly Persons Offense" punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Sale of paraphernalia is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence 18 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Sale of paraphernalia to minors is a felony punishable by a sentence of 3-5 years imprisonment and a maximum sentence of $15,000.

See:
  • Section 2C:36-2 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Miscellaneous
In NJ, failure to turn over marijuana or hashish to a nearby police officer is a misdemeanor. In addition, being under the influence of marijuana or hashish (whether you are driving a car or not), is also a misdemeanor. These offenses can be punished by:
  • Up to six months imprisonment (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-8)
  • A fine of up to $1000 (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3(c))
  • Loss of Public Housing (N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1)
  • Potential Eviction from leased residential premises (N.J.S.A. 2A:18-61.1)
  • Loss of driving privileges for not less than six months and up to two years. (2C:35-16)
  • Mandatory loss of driving privileges for two years if the marijuana is in a motor vehicle. (N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1)
  • A term of community service (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2b(5))
  • A mandatory $75 Safe Neighborhoods Services assessment (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-3.2)
  • A mandatory $50 lab fee (2C:35-20)
  • A mandatory $50 Victims of Crime Compensation Board penalty (2C:43-3.1a(2)(a))
  • A mandatory $500 Drug Enforcement Demand Reduction penalty (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-15(e))
  • A period of probation of up to five years (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-2b(2); State v. Dove, 202 N.J.Super. 540, (Law Div. Jan 29, 1985)
See:
  • Section 2C:35-10(c) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
  • Section 2C:35-10(b) of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
Driver's license suspension
Shall suspend, revoke or postpone the driving privileges for a period not less than six months or more than two years of every person convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for not less than 6 months and no more than two years. If less than 17 years old, the suspension shall not run less than six months or more than two years after they turn 17.

See:
  • 17. 39:5-30.13 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated
CONDITIONAL RELEASE

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

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 life sentence 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. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.
Source: NORML: New Jersey Laws & Penalties
 
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