While many states, such as California, now allow residents to legally possess certain amounts of recreational cannabis, such recreational use remains illegal in the state of New Jersey. The exception in New Jersey involves possession for medical purposes under the terms of the New Jersey Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act which allows for the use of medical cannabis in treating or alleviating pain or other symptoms of some medical conditions such as:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Terminal Cancer
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Terminal Illnesses
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Possession of Recreational Cannabis
If you are arrested or charged with the possession or use of recreational cannabis, New Jersey Revised Statute 2C:35-10 applies. The law applies to the use or possession of fifty grams or less of marijuana or five grams or less of hashish, both of which result in a charge of a disorderly person. If convicted, sentencing can include:
- Fine up to $1,000;
- State fees and court costs;
- Jail time up to six months in length;
If the possession or use occurred within 1,000 feet of a school bus, the sentence for a disorderly person conviction also includes one hundred hours of community service.
New Jersey Conditional Discharge
For certain first time disorderly person offenders, it may be possible to apply for admission into the conditional discharge program in accordance with section 2C:36A-1 of the New Jersey statute. For eligible participants, the law allows for a conditional discharge where the individual has not had a prior conviction for disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense regarding cannabis, stimulants, depressants or hallucinogenic drugs. In applicable cases, the judge will dismiss the disorderly person complaint after successful completion of the program including:
- Remain arrest free for a determined amount of time.
- Comply with any and all terms and conditions imposed by the court such as a requirement to provide drug free urine samples.
A New Jersey criminal defense attorney can review your case, confirm that it is your first disorder person offense, and discuss the procedures for seeking admittance into the conditional discharge program.
New Jersey Bill A4193
If signed into law, New Jersey Bill A4193, which was introduced in September of 2016, would legalize recreational cannabis for adults nineteen years of age and older statewide. The proposed law seeks not only to legalize recreational marijuana use but also to expunge records for prior convictions relative to marijuana related crimes.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
In a world where several states have legalized recreational marijuana, it may not seem serious to use or possess cannabis in the state of New Jersey. It is important to remember, however, that only medical marijuana for limited purposes is allowed in New Jersey and that all other use is considered possession of a controlled dangerous substance resulting in serious consequences.
The criminal defense lawyers at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. understand disorderly person charges and the punishments that follow a conviction. Call our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys today to discuss your arrest or any charges that were filed against you.