Penalties for Possession of Under 50 Grams of Weed in NJ
Marijuana, which is also called “pot,” “weed,” or “cannabis,” is illegal to possess or distribute in New Jersey. If you are caught with or accused of possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana, you can face harsh criminal penalties. These penalties – which are severe to begin with – escalate sharply if the quantity exceeds 50 grams. Whether your pot possession charges involve more or less than 50 grams of weed, you need an experienced drug defense lawyer fighting in your corner. For a free legal consultation with the marijuana possession lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, call (609) 616-4956, or contact our Atlantic City criminal attorneys online today.
Is Marijuana Legal in New Jersey?
Like many states, New Jersey has legalized the medical use of marijuana. Unlike some states which permit only the use of CBD products, such as CBD oil for epileptic seizures, New Jersey allows use of the entire cannabis plant for medical purposes.
While medical marijuana is now legal in New Jersey, recreational use of marijuana continues to remain prohibited under both state and federal law. Various bills to legalize marijuana in New Jersey have been unsuccessfully introduced since 2017. However, there are reportedly plans to include a voter referendum on New Jersey’s 2020 ballot, which means legalization could be around the corner. Until then, it is illegal to buy, possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in New Jersey, including paraphernalia such as bongs, pipes, and rolling papers.
NJ Drug Laws on Marijuana Possession of Less than 50 Grams
New Jersey’s criminal laws distinguish between the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and the possession of large quantities of marijuana for drug trafficking purposes. Therefore, depending on how much marijuana a person is in possession of, he or she can be charged with different types of drug offenses – and receive different penalties.
Each type of drug is subject to different thresholds under the law. When it comes to marijuana, New Jersey’s threshold is 50 grams: the cut-off point where a misdemeanor turns into a felony, as our drug distribution lawyers will discuss in just a few moments.
First, let’s look at the relevant statute, which is N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10. This statute deals broadly with drug possession, or possession of “controlled dangerous substances” (CDS), along with related offenses like “being under the influence” of CDS. The pertinent portion of the statute is N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10(a)(4), which simply states, “Possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana… is a disorderly person,” meaning a disorderly persons offense. Keep reading to find out what a “disorderly persons offense” means in New Jersey – and how it can be punished.
Penalty for Possession of Weed in NJ Under 50 Grams
As stated above, weed possession below 50 grams is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. A disorderly persons offense is a criminal offense that, in most other states, would be called a misdemeanor. A disorderly persons offense is less serious than an indictable crime – a term our drug paraphernalia lawyers will explain in the next section – but is more serious than a petty disorderly persons offense.
The maximum penalty for a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, including weed possession of less than 50 grams, typically includes a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to six months. Depending on the case, there may be additional assessments and fees, such as court-ordered payments to the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund. If convicted, the person can also be placed on probation, be ordered to perform community service, and lose their driver’s license due to suspension. However, depending on the offender’s criminal history, he or she may qualify for a Conditional Discharge.
With a Conditional Discharge, the charges may be dismissed if the offender successfully remains drug-free and follows other court rules for a predetermined period, usually of one year. Critically, a Conditional Discharge also allows the individual to avoid jail time.
Penalties for Possession of Over 50 Grams of Pot
Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana is an even more serious issue, because large quantities are associated with drug trafficking. This is reflected in the penalties for possession over 50 grams, which is an indictable crime: New Jersey’s equivalent of a felony.
There are four classes of indictable crimes in New Jersey: fourth, third, second, and first degree crimes. These designations matter for defendants because each group is subject to different criminal penalties.
Marijuana possession over 50 grams is a fourth degree indictable crime. This is established by N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10(a)(3), which states, “Possession of more than 50 grams of marijuana… [is] a crime of the fourth degree…”
Generally, the maximum fine for a fourth degree crime is $10,000 in New Jersey. However, the statute makes an exception under N.J.S.A. § 2C:35-10(a)(3), which allows judges to impose a fine as high as $25,000: more than twice the normal upper limit. These penalties reflect New Jersey’s aggressive anti-drug policies, which create harsh sentencing rules for marijuana and other CDS offenders.
Atlantic City Drug Defense Lawyers for Weed Possession Charges in NJ
If you were arrested for marijuana possession in New Jersey, get help from a skilled criminal attorney with decades of experience fighting felony and misdemeanor drug charges. Contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych online for a free consultation, or call (609) 616-4956.Atlantic City marijuana possession lawyer John Zarych breaks down the varying punishments for possessing less than fifty grams of weed in New Jersey.
Marijuana Possession of Less Than 50 Grams
Charged with Possessing Marijuana?
One of the more prevalent disorderly persons offenses heard in Municipal Court is possession of marijuana. If you were arrested or charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, our law firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, is ready to assist you. Lets face it; no one needs a criminal record—let alone one involving possession of drugs.That said, our attorneys stand a good chance of eliminating this possibility. Our defense team is comprised of four lawyers that possess over sixty years of experience handling marijuana offenses throughout NJ, including Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Union County, Mercer County, Essex County, Hudson County and Morris County. A lawyer is available immediately to answer your questions and provide direction in this confusing time. Reach an attorney 24/7 for a free initial consultation at 1-877-450-8301.
Possession of Less than 50 Grams of Marijuana – N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4)
When police claim that someone possessed marijuana in a quantity of less than 50 grams, the law that governs the charge is N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10(a)(4). This law provides that it is “unlawful for any person, knowingly or purposely, to obtain, or to possess, actually or constructively, a controlled dangerous substance . . . [and that] possession of 50 grams or less of marijuana, including any adulterants or dilutants, or five grams or less of hashish is a disorderly persons.”
Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Amount Less than 50 Grams
- Monetary Fines & Assessments. An individual found guilty of disorderly persons possession of marijuana is subject to a fine of up to $1,000, as well as certain mandatory state assessments (i.e. $50 VCCB, $75 Safe Neighborhood Services Fund, and $33 for court costs).
- Jail and/or Probation. An individual is subject to up to six (6) months in jail upon conviction for possessing less than 50 grams. The Court may also impose a period of probation, including random drug testing and other conditions, for this disorderly persons offense.
- Drivers License Suspension. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, an individual is subject to a CDS drivers license suspension of at least six (6) month if convicted for possessing marijuana. The marijuana need not be possessed in a motor vehicle for the revocation to apply as is the case of possession of CDS in a motor vehicle under N.J.S.A. 39:4-49.1.
- Community Service. An individual must perform 100 hours of community service if he or she possessed the marijuana or hashish within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus.
Conditional Discharge for First Time Offenders
If an individual has no previous drug conviction nor prior diversion (e.g. conditional discharge, pretrial intervention, or similar program in another state), they are eligible for Conditional Discharge. This program requires an individual to remain arrest free for a period, typically one year, as well as comply with any other requirements during this period (e.g. submit drug free urine samples). Upon completion of the conditional discharge period, the original complaint is dismissed.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you or a loved one was charged with marijuana possession as one of our attorneys would be happy to assist you. Our lawyers are accessible 24/7 to provide you with the guidance you need.Charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana in NJ? Contact The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall – available 24/ for help in New Jersey. ]]>