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New Jersey: Marijuana Decriminalization Measures Pending Before Legislature

Two separate pieces of legislation that seek to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties await action this 2013 legislative session.

Assembly Bill 1465, which reduces penalties for the adult possession of up to 15 grams or less of marijuana to a fine-only, non-criminal violation was approved last year by the State Assembly and awaits action by the Senate. You can read the bill text here.

Separate Senate Legislation, Senate Bill 1977, to decriminalize up to 50 grams of marijuana also remains pending. You can read the bill text here.

Under present state law, the possessing of up to 50 grams marijuana is punishable by up to 6 months incarceration, a $1,000 fine, and a criminal record.

Survey data released in June reports that 61 percent of New Jersey voters favor removing criminal penalties for minor marijuana possession offenses and replacing them with civil fines. The results of the new poll mimic those of a 2011 Rutgers University survey, which also reported that more than six out of ten voters favored decriminalization, and that just over half of all voters favored eliminating all penalties for simple possession offenses.

If you have not already done so, please contact your member of the state Senate and tell him or her that a majority of voters favor enacting these modest marijuana law reforms. You can use the pre-written letter below. 

NORML will continue to update as these proposals move forward. Additional information on this legislative effort is available from New Jersey NORML here.


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