How New Jersey’s New Marijuana Bill Will Affect the State’s Drug Crimes

Will New Jersey's New Marijuana Bill Affect the State's Drug Crimes?

Could I be charged with an indictable offense?

In November 2017, Phil Murphy won the race for New Jersey governor.  One of Gov. Murphy’s campaign promises was to legalize recreational cannabis in the state of New Jersey. As soon as he won the race, Murphy doubled down on his pledge and pronounced that he wanted to see marijuana legal in the state within the first 100 days after he takes office.

Phil Murphy can put as much time and political energy in pushing recreational marijuana legalization for the state as he can, but it will ultimately come down to the New Jersey legislature passing a bill, or the state legislature passing down the proposition to voters during an election. New Jersey hasn’t always had the easiest time passing legalization through the state’s lawmakers, so there is concern of how long this campaign promise will take to be fulfilled. However, 65 percent of New Jersey voters support cannabis legalization according to recent state polling, so legalization is likely to occur in the state in the next year.

How Will Legalization Affect State Drug Crimes?

State Senator Nicholas Scutari, who has been a huge driving force in New Jersey’s marijuana legalization, has suggested creating “consumption zones” to allow for the drug’s recreational use. This would permit smokers to consume without interfering with other people’s daily lives and will also not force them to permanently consume in their private homes. As far as expunging marijuana arrests, the state is still trying to best address that situation. In a separate piece of legislation, Scutari and others are open to expunging on simple possession charges, but not distribution. Options for homegrown cannabis are also going to be difficult to address immediately, and state legislators don’t think this will be considered through any initial bills passed.

Until this marijuana bill is passed through the state senate, you can still be charged and arrested for possessing or selling marijuana in the state of New Jersey. Our criminal defense attorney at Gelman Law, LLC. can represent you in court if you are ever arrested for a drug crime in the Garden State.