Breaking: Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Moves Forward In New Jersey

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 21, 2012

    [Update: The full Assembly is now scheduled to vote on A. 1465 this THURSDAY, MAY 24. For the first time in many years, there is now political momentum in New Jersey to mitigate marijuana possession penalties. If you reside in New Jersey, your member of the Assembly needs to hear from you NOW. Contact your state lawmakers via NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.]

    Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee voted unanimously today in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, bi-partisan legislation which reduces criminal penalties for those who possess personal use quantities of marijuana.

    Witnesses who testified at the hearing were almost uniformly in favor of the legislation, which is similar to the laws of 14 other states. You can read NORML’s written testimony to the Committee here.

    Assembly Bill 1465 removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to 15 grams (approximately one-half ounce) of marijuana, replacing them with civil penalties punishable by no more than a $150 fine and no criminal record. Under present law, the possession of minor amounts of marijuana is a criminal offense punishable by up to six-months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

    Last year, Connecticut NORML spearheaded a successful legislative effort in that state to pass a nearly identical marijuana decriminalization bill. Passage of that measure has since led to a dramatic decline in the total number of marijuana arrests.

    In 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), 22,439 New Jersey citizens were arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Passage of A. 1465 measure would spare many of these citizens from criminal arrest, prosecution, and incarceration, as well as the emotional and financial hardships that follow — including the loss of certain jobs, students loans, federal and state subsidies, and child custody rights. Further, this change would provide immediate legal protections for some New Jersey patients, who presently benefit from the therapeutic use of cannabis, but remain at risk because the state’s two-and-a-half year-old medical marijuana law remains inactive.

    A. 1465 is now pending before the full Assembly. Separate Senate legislation to decriminalize cannabis possession has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. For decriminalization to become reality in New Jersey, the measure must pass both the Assembly and the Senate. The measure would then await action from Gov. Chris Christie.

    If you reside in the Garden State, you are urged to please contact your member of the state Assembly and urge them to vote ‘yes’ on A. 1465 by visiting NORML’s ‘Take Action Center’ here.

    Additional information is available from NORML New Jersey here or via CMM-NJ here.

    37 Responses to “Breaking: Bill To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession Moves Forward In New Jersey”

    1. […] said that I-502 might carry on cannabis possession laws for individuals under the age of 21. “This marijuana law doesn’t permit marijuana use to be […]

    2. […] stoner woman from Stony Point was flying too close to the sun when she was detained for marijuana possession by a K-9 cop. She brought her indoor grown pot into a county jail when she went to visit a friend […]

    3. […] Leshoure, suspended two games, was found to be smoking hydroponic grade marijuana. The stoner violated the substance abuse policy for being a 420 lover of blunts in his spare time. Not using steroids, but pot found at any medical marijuana dispensary. After taking the rap for smoking weed, he was caught a 2nd time a month after for marijuana possession. […]

    4. […] Henry Crawford III is going to face possession of marijuana, driving while impaired, and reckless and careless driving. Crawford apparently passed out while […]

    5. Bob says:

      OK folks its time to make a stand.

      The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. If ya have some money to spare – contribute to Normal or a like organization and/or email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family:

      To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

      Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965 with over 800,000 arrests in 2010 and each year the number increases. The problem is getting worse – not because of the benign plant, but because of the obsolete laws. The time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

      I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and endorse responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.


      Voting Citizen
      & Member of the Movement

    6. Thalia Ross says:

      oh and tommy chong for prez! :)

    7. Thalia Ross says:

      and “wasting” refers to posting to other supporters.. club meetings are fun but we need better numbers! get your support out there and change a few minds! if every one changed just one voting age mind… we’d have national veto proof majority!!!!!!!

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