New Jersey Legalizes Weed but Criminalizes Possession

New Jersey will arrest anyone with the smallest possession of weed.

29 U.S. states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana. The State of New Jersey recently legalized weed but the criminal justice system still treats everyone like it never happened. New Jersey officials will even arrest people for having a half smoked joint in their possession while in public.

Or having a car freshener hanging in the rear-view mirror. Having a freshener hanging is enough to give police probable cause. Cops use this to search drivers they suspect of having weed.  States like Oregon require drivers to have cannabis out of reach of drivers or have it be in a sealed container. But New Jersey doesn’t want cannabis in the car at all.

Just smelling like weed while walking along the road is enough for cops to frisk a person. In 2014, New Jersey arrested over 25,000 people for possession. Many of the people targeted were tourists but even locals were charged. Residents and tourists beware; New Jersey will charge for possession and let the courts figure out guilt.

Carmine Villani is a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey. She says that possessing weed (anywhere from 0 to 50 grams) will lead to a disorderly conduct fine. If the cop is in a bad mood, you might get 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine. If you get caught with it in your car you could lose your license. If you are caught with an already smoked joint, a resonated pipe or left over shake it doesn’t matter. Your life will be ruined. In New Jersey, getting caught with the smallest amount of pot is a life altering affair.

New Jersey will take away professional licenses for those caught with weed.

Carmine also says that people who work with children as a profession could lose their license. They lose the ability to work with children when they are caught with possession of weed. First time offenders have a sliver of hope although.

People caught with 50 grams of marijuana or less have a change of getting a reduced sentence if it is their first time. If defendants pass a urine test and undergo a year of probation they can avoid the fee and jail time. Repeat offenders have no option but pay the fine and/or do the time.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is responsible for marijuana enforcement.

Gov. Christie is against cannabis and hates everything about it. He drafted and passed a cannabis bill that only supports the sickest and near dead members of society. Patients with cancer and are close to death got an exemption. They can obtain a medical marijuana card but still face the prospect of arrest and harsh penalties if found in possession. Things get even worse if they have it in their car or are caught with it in public.

The cops don’t require much to ruin a person’s life.

Having paraphernalia is enough for police to arrest and later convict a person. Also, if the cops suspect that the resin they see contains a derivative of cannabis, they use a test called the Duqeunois-Levine Test. If the test drop turns purple, then the substance tested positive for a derivative of cannabis.

The most insane part of all this is that it takes several months for the test to come back. One woman in New Jersey was going to get a job in September, but got arrested in August. She had to wait till March for her case to resolve. People with sticky fingers can also be tested for cannabis derivatives with the Duquenois Test.

New Jersey will not decriminalize cannabis any time soon.

Maybe the governor will decriminalize cannabis because elections are coming up. However, it looks unlikely. If city officials decriminalize marijuana, currently a misdemeanor, the penalty will be relabeled.

For example, instead of a possession charge, having weed in the car will become a driving under the influence charge. But the test cops use for THC doesn’t give accurate results. Having any THC in your system results in a charge. But THC stays in the body for up to a month or more. If a person smoked a jay in the beginning of the month they should wait a month for the substance to leave their system before they can drive again.

New Jersey police currently use outdated field sobriety tests.

The departments methods were designed in the early 70’s. They were also designed to combat alcohol, a very different drug. A person can be high and still can lift a leg or walk a straight line. Because of how easily cannabis users can pass a sobriety test, police have started ambushing people.

Many New Jersey cops park at the PNC Bank Arts Center and bust kids and adults in the parking lot. They’ll arrest people if they think they were smoking a joint or if they are find residue somewhere nearby. Basically, the PNC Bank Arts Center houses the New Jersey police barracks.

Many can’t believe how strict the cops are when it comes to a small amount of weed. But the New Jersey cops don’t care. Gov. Christie has a no non-sense policy when it comes to the possession and use of cannabis. And it will continue to be that way until Gov. Christie is out of office.

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About Alley Rhodes

Alley Rhodes is a cannabis new correspondent. She writes about MJ news, culture, cannabis cups, medibles and more. Alley is also an avid glass collector, web developer, and computer tech.

1 Comment

  • New jersey is going to be an oddball state, going from complete and total criminalization of weed to total,complete legalization when Krispy Kreme Kristy gets replaced by a much more sensible thinking governor in january. And the state will not see violence increase, but the tax windfalls will help the shore towns, which haven’t been worth visiting since the 1980s.

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