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New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive 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. Dave Evans says:

      Gov. Christie is showing us he isn’t really interested in responsible taxation and spending. This war on pot is a waste, a fraud and a non-constitutional use of the public’s money. Why would Christie vote to continue it?

    2. The green says:

      Too much blubber on the brain .

    3. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Chris Christie is all business and he doesn’t like people who tries to figure him out.

      When it comes to politics, please don’t mind your own business. Politics is about you.
      It’s time to care about your freedom.
      VOTE!

    4. Owen says:

      Cpl Groth(usmc)said Oh well, I guess I’ll be getting my weed in new york.

      Yea, and you’ll pay double the national average….LEGALIZE IT so guys like Cpl Groth and old farts like me don’t have to prowl the streets and duck NYC cops. It should be readily accessable in Walgreens or your local pizza shop.

    5. […] New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure 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 measure now awaits action from the […] […]

    6. John says:

      Christie has always done what he wanted. He needs to be voted out.

    7. David762 says:

      This is amazing news, considering that this is New Jersey we are talking about. Unanimous passage in the Judiciary Committee, and then 44-30 passage in the House is amazing progress. Gov. Christie will get his political cover from the New Jersey Senate, who will not pass this cannabis decriminalization measure.

      How many different Big Pharma companies have a presence in NJ? NJ politicians are more afraid of their campaign contributors than they do of any Federal backlash. In other words, political business as usual.

    8. JJ says:

      New Jersey citizens have only themselves to blame for electing that fat bastard. The battle for reform STARTS at the polling booth, not several months down the road when the pig is already in office… If you live in NJ and didn’t vote for Christie, you need to ask yourself: did you do anything to help his opponent? Getting involved in the reform process requires more than just voting, it requires activism!

    9. Scott says:

      Pennsylvanian’s need decriminalization.

    10. Eric Beddingfield says:

      You guys are very wrong about Mississippi, I know the law says one thing but I assure you 9 times out of ten whether you got an Oz. or a roach on you your going to jail. It has happened to me.

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