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Marijuana Possession

Marijuana: Legal or Illegal?

Marijuana Possession Attorney in Monmouth County, New Jersey Understands the Laws of Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana

With restrictions, medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2010 - the end of Governor Corzine’s marijuana-friendly reign, and the beginning of Chris Christie’s marijuana-unfriendly reign.

But for New Jersey citizens who don’t have a medical reason to possess marijuana - or a medical card to prove that legitimate need - the possession of marijuana is still highly illegal in the Garden State. The laws dealing with possession of marijuana are lenient until they are not - and as the amount of marijuana possessed goes up, so do the penalties.

It is important to know the differences because they could lead to arrest and conviction for possession of marijuana - which could lead to prison time, harsh fines and a permanent criminal record. You could end up in jail and miss out on all the fun when Chris Christie’s reign ends in January, 2018 - and the New Jersey recreational drug laws change dramatically.

Monmouth County marijuana possession lawyer Tara Breslow-Testa understands the current New Jersey marijuana laws - what is legal, and what isn’t - and she is ready to stand by your side if you are arrested for possession of marijuana - whether it’s under an ounce or over 25 pounds.

New Jersey's municipal and state courts are flooded with drug cases, and the system is lenient until it isn’t. First time offenders can be diverted to Drug Court or Pre-Trial Intervention, but if the court determines you are a habitual user and abuser of marijuana, they will throw the book at you, with prison terms of years to decades and fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Tara Breslow-Testa has handled hundreds of drug cases in her career. She understands the history, logic, ebb and flow of New Jersey courts, and you want her in your corner when squaring off against ambitious prosecutors and hardened judges.

Marijuana is teetering on the brink of becoming fully legal in New Jersey. But it’s not there yet and you don’t want to fall and get stuck in that deep crevasse between present illegality and future leniency.

Call Tara Breslow-Testa for a free consultation: (732) 784-2880

Marijuana is a Schedule I Controlled Dangerous Substance

In New Jersey, Controlled Dangerous Substances are divided into Schedule I - V, based on their potential for abuse, and possible damage. Although the medical value of marijuana has been proven, marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug, which include hallucinogens and narcotics that are frequently abused and have no acceptable medical value for treatment in the United States. Schedule 1 offenses - possession to distribution - are the most serious. There are several dozen Schedule 1 CDS listed, but in general marijuana is right up there with acid, hashish, heroin, LSD, MDMA and psilocybin mushrooms.

So What is Legal and What Isn’t?

New Jersey statutes N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Criminal Code address offenses for manufacturing, distributing, or possessing marijuana with intent to distribute in section. Marijuana offenses can be first, second, third or fourth degree, depending on the measured weight or number of plants associated with the offense.

Possession of Marijuana: Penalties

Weight matters with marijuana and these are some of the possible results of a conviction:

  • Marijuana in a quantity of 25 pounds or more; or 50 or more marijuana plants; or hashish in a quantity of 5 pounds or more – First Degree Crime: punishable by a sentence to serve between 10 and 20 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
  • Marijuana in a quantity of between 5 and 25 pounds; or between 10 and 50 marijuana plants - Second Degree Crime punishable by a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
  • Marijuana in a quantity of between 1 ounce and 5 pounds – Third Degree Crime: punishable by a sentence to serve between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
  • Marijuana in a quantity of less than 1 ounce – Fourth Degree Crime: punishable by a sentence to serve up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Drug Court

First and second-degree drug crimes are sentenced with a “presumption of incarceration” which means jail is mandatory. However, third and fourth degree crimes come with a presumption of non-incarceration, which makes it possible for a first-time offender to be diverted to Drug Court.

Established in 1996 in Camden and Essex Superior Courts - and since extended to all of New Jersey - the mission of New Jersey’s Drug Court is to head off the abuse of drugs and alcohol and ease the related criminal activity that goes with drug abuse. Drug Courts operate within the Superior Court structure and utilize a specialized team of treatment professionals, court staff, probation officers, attorneys and substance abuse evaluators for cases that are nonviolent.

The goal of Drug Court is to keep abusers out of jail and off drugs, and it is possible that Monmouth County drug offense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa can work with Superior Court to have a case deflected into Drug Court - and turn possible jail time and fines into strict supervision.

The Times They Could be A-Changing - Soon

The marijuana laws in New Jersey are strict, but are perhaps on the verge of a tectonic shift. When Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January of 2018, it is believed New Jersey will legalize recreational use of marijuana - which seems to be working in western states like Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington.

But as of now, the recreational use of marijuana is still sternly illegal, and persons arrested for possession or distribution of marijuana could be fined and thrown in jail for many years - and miss out on all the fun if marijuana becomes legal after Chris Christie leaves office - which is one possible future.

If you are caught in the treacherous crevasse between illegal and legal marijuana, you want Monmouth County marijuana possession attorney Tara Breslow-Testa to come to be there with a coil of legal rope. She has defended scores of drug cases and knows all the possible diversions and loopholes and ways to have charges reduced or dismissed.

Call Tara Breslow-Testa for a free consultation: (732) 784-2880