The use of marijuana varies in legality from state to state. In some states, it is completely illegal. In 11 states, it is fully legal. Other states decriminalized marijuana possession, which means there is no jail time or criminal record for first-time offenses if the amount possessed is small. In these states, first-time marijuana possession is treated like a traffic violation. Finally, there are states like New Jersey, where marijuana is illegal for recreational use but legal for medicinal use. New Jersey, like many other states, is looking to potentially legalize marijuana for recreational use and it will be an item on the ballot this election. If you or a loved one find yourself in trouble with a marijuana-related offense, don’t wait another minute! Call a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin to help you out.
Marijuana in New Jersey: Current Laws
Currently, marijuana is legal in the state of New Jersey for medical reasons. In 2010, the state passed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act to legalize medical marijuana use. In 2012, the medical marijuana patient registry was created, and medical marijuana started being dispensed to patients. Under the law, the marijuana must be ordered by a physician and patients must be certified in the Medical Marijuana Program. The legal amount to possess is 2 ounces within a 30-day period. Medical marijuana patients also need to register for a Medical Marijuana Program ID card for proof that they are in the program.
Talk with your doctor if you want to try marijuana for a medical issue. There is a list of qualifying conditions that patients must meet to be considered for medical marijuana use. The list includes everything from mental health issues like anxiety to physical issues like cancer. Users must purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary. Patients cannot grow their own marijuana.
Marijuana and Other Legal Issues: Contact Your New Jersey Attorney
Beyond medicinal use, marijuana for recreational use is illegal in New Jersey. A marijuana charge always comes with jail time and a fine. The duration of incarceration and the amount of the fine depend on the specific offense. Marijuana offenses can be broken into the following categories:
- Hash and Concentrates
In each of these categories, the length of jail time and the amount of the fine depend on how much marijuana was present. Convictions also vary from a disorderly person’s offense to a criminal charge. For example, possessing 50g or less of marijuana is a disorderly person’s offense. Possessing more than 50g is a criminal offense.
If you face charges for a marijuana-related offense, contact a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin right away. He can often create a successful defense around your case and have charges potentially dropped or dismissed. For example, one defense is that the marijuana was not yours. Lawyers frequently use this defense when police find marijuana in the defendant’s car. This can be because it belongs to someone else, such as a family member or roommate.
The Issue of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana: What’s Next?
On Election Day, voters will decide whether an amendment to the New Jersey state constitution can legalize marijuana for people 21 years of age and older. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, pre-election polls already show support by a 2:1 ratio. The Inquirer also notes that even if marijuana is legalized, it can’t be sold immediately. In fact, it took Maine four years after legalizing marijuana to officially implement a recreational marijuana market. The timeframe will be quicker in New Jersey since a bill has already been in the works.
Marijuana and COVID
With COVID-19 ongoing, the marijuana industry might be something that could help the local economies. However, things like social distancing, home deliveries, and curbside pickup at dispensaries will have to be considered. Also, it is up to each municipality whether or not they want to be home to a marijuana retailer. Many municipalities have already said that they don’t want a retail marijuana operation in their towns. The initial idea is that the current medical dispensaries would be the places to sell to the public. NJ.com mentions this could be an issue, as the dispensaries currently have trouble distributing to the 92,000 registered medical patients. Their article states patients complain about “long lines and drives, as well as product shortages.”
According to CNN, one issue is that depending on the county, the marijuana issue (public question no. 1) might be on the back side of the ballot. Voters need to know to flip over the ballot before mailing it back or dropping it off.
Other Issues About Legalization
The issue of legalizing marijuana is a hot topic! Some states have legalized it, while others, like New Jersey, are voting on it during Tuesday’s election. If the majority of voters want to pass the amendment, it will legalize recreational marijuana use for people 21 years of age and older. Marijuana retail establishments created throughout the state can sell recreational marijuana. While pre-election polls show that support is high for legalizing marijuana, many municipalities have stated they do not want a marijuana retailer in their towns.
How A New Jersey Attorney Can Help With Marijuana Charges
As of now, marijuana is legal for registered medical patients. Any other person caught possessing, distributing, or cultivating marijuana faces jail time and fines. The first thing to do when caught with marijuana is to call a New Jersey attorney, like Leon Matchin. He has years of experience defending clients facing marijuana charges.
If you or a loved one have received a marijuana-related charge that will be heard in the Municipal Court system, give New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin a call at 732-887-2479, or contact him via email at [email protected]. He will set up an initial consultation to learn more about you and your case.