On Monday, February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Philip D. Murphy signed into law three bills that effectively permit and regulate the use of recreational marijuana in the State. However, recreational use is only legal for adults 21 and older. The law also eliminates existing prohibitions and creates new, more lenient penalties for possession and distribution that remain tiered base on weight.
New Limits on Marijuana and Hashish
As of February 22, 2021, the following conduct no longer violates State law:
- Simple possession of 6 ounces or less of marijuana, 2C:35-10(a)(4)(b);
- Simple possession of 17 grams or less of hashish, 2C:35-10(a)(4)(b);
- Being under the influence of marijuana or hashish, 2C:35-10(b);
- Failure to properly dispose of marijuana or hashish, 2C:35-10(c);
- Possession of paraphernalia for marijuana or hashish, 2C:36-2;
- Possession of marijuana or hashish as a motor vehicle operator, 39:4-49.1.
In addition, the following weight thresholds now apply to the possession and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and hashish:
As part of these revised thresholds, the law creates a new framework for individuals who distribute 1 ounce or less of marijuana or 5 grams or less of hashish:
- First offense: Officers shall issue a written warning to individuals for their first offense.
- Second or subsequent offense: Individuals are subject to a complaint-summons for a 4th-degree crime.
Most notable change: The odor of marijuana or hashish, either burnt or raw, by itself no longer establishes “reasonable articulable suspicion” to initiate a stop or search of a person or their vehicle to determine a violation of possession offense or a 4th-degree distribution offense.
Facing Drug Charges?
Whether you were arrested for marijuana possession or distribution before or after the new laws were signed into law, the Law Office of Louis G. DeAngelis, LLC can help.