New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director June 25, 2012

    The New Jersey General Assembly this evening voted 44-30 in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of approximately one-half ounce of marijuana. Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee had previously approved the measure by a unanimous vote.

    Presently, the possession of this amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. A conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years, the loss of driving privileges, and other penalties.

    The measure now awaits action from the state Senate. If you reside in New Jersey, you can click here to contact your state Senator and urge them to support this important legislation.

    If the bill obtains Senate approval it will still face a major hurdle, as Governor Chris Christie publicly stated he intends to veto the bill should it reach his desk. (An override of the Governor’s veto would require 54 ‘yes’ votes in the Assembly and 27 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate.) It is unfortunate that the Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor refuses to listen to the will of the voters, as a November 2011 Eagleton poll found that 58 percent of New Jersey residents believe that penalties regarding the use of marijuana should be decreased and 55 percent of them believe that marijuana possession penalties ought to be be eliminated entirely.

    Just days earlier, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee enacted a similar marijuana decriminalization measure into law, amending pot possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record.

    Eight states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — similarly define the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by adults as a civil, non-criminal offense.

    Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    35 Responses to “New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure”

    1. Angelica says:

      How about get it legalized and put a tax on it. People have done so much more stupid shit drunk than high anyways.

    2. dave says:

      wish the marijuana was legal all over the U.S.

    3. Ozzie B. Irons says:

      I wonder how much CCA and the GEO group spent trying to defeat this. They after all, the two biggest for profit prison corporations. This is going to eat into their revenue. Incarceration in the US has soared since 1980 due to policy change – NOT violent crime.

    4. Dave Evans says:

      Hey there, the Europeans are the ones who brought the ganja to North America, the natives only had tobacco.

    5. bOngTVcom says:

      My friends here at NORML you have no idea of who this man is and what he may become soon and that is the greatest enemy of Marijuana in recorded history. More keyed up and psycho about it than Harry Anslinger was. Chris Christie may be the new US Attorney general soon. Together with Lord Mormom, the Jersey Knight Sir Chubby will declare war on the marijuana with the intention of overturning every states laws about medical pot and replacing it with a NEW federal system devised by Sir Chubby. They will also look to increase and introduce new penalties for possession and mandatory federal jail time for all people found to be growing cannabis. Sir Chubby will call out the national Guard and park a jeep with 2 MP’s in front of every dispensary in Cali and Colorado. They will arrest and detain anyone suspected of creating resisitance. A new federal ZERO tolerance policy towards pot. This is why the republicans cant garner full support from thier conservative but free thinking Independent brothers. These old school knuckle ballers with thier hate of pot really baffles me. When the white man first came to North America one of the first things the indians did to show friendship and willingness to live with each other was to offer the other a pipe to smoke. How this turned into an action that is revolted by society now (communal smoking) I cannot fathom. Think on the things Ive told you now.

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