Drug Paraphernalia Photo by TechPhotoGal on Pixabay
In the state of New Jersey, the traditional thoughts on marijuana usage are changing. Even though medical marijuana is legal in the state, you must be careful about the paraphernalia you keep with you. It can get confusing when you try to keep up with current and changing laws regarding marijuana, especially when they involve the use of paraphernalia. It’s imperative that you understand what constitutes a violation of drug paraphernalia in New Jersey.
Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
First of all, you need to understand what a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge is all about. In New Jersey, this citation means that officers found an individual in possession of paraphernalia, and had an intent to use a wide variety of items. Likewise, if officers discover an item filled with drugs, in proximity to drugs, or containing residue from past drug use, they classify the object as drug paraphernalia.
The fine for this charge is steep, set at $1,000 and a penalty of up to six months in prison. In addition to this, the courts could also choose to suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for a period of six months to two years. However, conditional discharge does exist in the state of New Jersey. Conditional discharge is a program used in municipal court for first-time drug offenders. If a defendant qualifies, the courts could drop the charges, allowing the violation to be expunged after six months.
Any person charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia will also have a disorderly person’s offense on their record. In addition to jail time and high dollar fines, these charges often result in the loss of employment, while other related difficulties might affect a defendant’s future. If you are facing a Possession of Drug Paraphernalia charge, you should consider hiring a defense attorney experienced in criminal drug charges. In the end, it could result in a reduction of your penalties.
Marijuana Use in New Jersey
Currently, only the medicinal use of marijuana is legal in the state of New Jersey, while the recreational use of the drug remains illegal. When it comes to the use of non-medical marijuana, the law has set mandatory penalties for the use or possession of drug or drug paraphernalia. That said, marijuana laws are significantly less severe than those regarding hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. For example, if officers find you in possession of fewer than fifty grams of marijuana, the courts consider this a minor offense. The courts set the maximum penalties at six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. However, the consider the possession of over fifty grams a felony with penalties of up to eighteen months in jail and a fine of $25,000.
So, how does New Jersey classify marijuana? Well, in this state, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance which means it has a high potential for abuse and a low medicinal value. Therefore, the state of New Jersey highly penalizes the recreational possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana.
What Classifies as Drug Paraphernalia
As mentioned above, there are a few things that legal authorities consider when classifying items as drug paraphernalia. The classification of these items includes more than just their proximity to actual drugs. Items considered as drug paraphernalia include the following:
- zip lock bags
Basically, they consider anything currently used or previously used for drug use as paraphernalia.
What exactly does the law state? Well, N.J.S.A 2C:36-2 states the statutes for Drug Paraphernalia in the following way:
“It shall be unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance, controlled substance analog or toxic chemical in violation of the provisions of chapter 35 of this title. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a disorderly person’s offense.”
New Jersey has little tolerance when it comes it the possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Legal authorities classify anything used to produce, contain, or consume illegal drugs as drug paraphernalia. Even though medical marijuana is considered legal in the state, you could still face drug charges for possessing paraphernalia. It’s crucial that you understand the law regarding marijuana use, and your rights. If you have more questions, contact us today at 732-887-2479, or email us at [email protected].