New Jersey General Assembly Passes Marijuana Decriminalization Measure

The New Jersey General Assembly this evening voted 44-30 in favor of Assembly Bill 1465, which removes criminal penalties for the possession of approximately one-half ounce of marijuana. Members of the state Assembly Judiciary Committee had previously approved the measure by a unanimous vote.

Presently, the possession of this amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a $1000 fine and six months in jail. A conviction also results in a criminal record that cannot be expunged for at least five years, the loss of driving privileges, and other penalties.

The measure now awaits action from the state Senate. If you reside in New Jersey, you can click here to contact your state Senator and urge them to support this important legislation.

If the bill obtains Senate approval it will still face a major hurdle, as Governor Chris Christie publicly stated he intends to veto the bill should it reach his desk. (An override of the Governor’s veto would require 54 ‘yes’ votes in the Assembly and 27 ‘yes’ votes in the Senate.) It is unfortunate that the Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor refuses to listen to the will of the voters, as a November 2011 Eagleton poll found that 58 percent of New Jersey residents believe that penalties regarding the use of marijuana should be decreased and 55 percent of them believe that marijuana possession penalties ought to be be eliminated entirely.

Just days earlier, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee enacted a similar marijuana decriminalization measure into law, amending pot possession penalties from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by one year in jail and a $500 maximum fine) to a non-arrestable civil offense — punishable by a $150 fine, no jail time, and no criminal record.

Eight states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, and Oregon — similarly define the private, non-medical possession of marijuana by adults as a civil, non-criminal offense.

Five additional states — Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio — treat marijuana possession offenses as a fine-only misdemeanor offense. Alaska imposes no criminal or civil penalty for the private possession of small amounts of marijuana.

35 thoughts

  1. Gutless Lynch of New Hempshire couldn’t do it either, what a shame these guys didn’t have the spine to stand with the people and the other states. Over 50% support across America and 25 states, that’s half the US have either decriminalized or instituted medical marijuana. And we approach an election where one or more states may legalize. There’s still a lot of work to do yet but it’s past the tipping point now, this is the down hill run. There definitely ain’t no turning back. So why not stand with the states that have made a stand? The more there are, the stronger the case against federal intervention. Anyone who does not participate will not be part of the government that does reform and will not be remembered for any special reason. The drug war is about to end, you can’t stop it so why not go with it.
    The states united,
    will never be defeated.
    REFORMED STATES
    1. Alaska, medical, decriminalized
    2. Arizona, medical
    3. California, medical, decriminalized
    4. Colorado, medical, decriminalized
    5. Connecticut, medical, decriminalized
    6. D.C. medical
    7. Delaware, medical
    8. Hawaii, medical
    9. Maine, medical, decriminalized
    10. Massachusetts, decriminalized
    11. Michigan, medical
    12. Minnesota, decriminalized
    13. Mississippi, decriminalized
    14. Montana, medical
    15. Nebraska, decriminalized
    16. Nevada, medical, decriminalized
    17. New Jersey, medical
    18. New York, decriminalized
    19. New Mexico,medical
    20. North Carolina, decriminalized
    21. Oregon, medical, decriminalized
    22. Ohio, decriminalized
    23. Rhode Island, medical, decriminalized
    24. Vermont, medical
    25. Washington, medical

  2. It is a good start…

    It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the presidential candidates suddenly became a supporter of legalization…
    whether it was hyper-hypocrit Obama or the other guy… (I wonder what a Cuban blunt tastes like…)

  3. Why is it that politicians go by what they want rather then what the masses that voted them into the power want? Blows my mind how simple minded some really are, more so with those with power.

  4. All the financial problems the country has and Christi still wants to waste money enforcing prohibition. Let the prohibitionists pay for their own damn war.

  5. This is a bitch move, I know. It’s repugnant to hypocritically suppress innocent non-violent offenders when I’m using the same argument to publicly defend my federally illegal sports gambling proposal, challenging the government to come after me. It inflates my ego and fulfills my bureaucratic, bought and paid for lobbyist agenda. I want to openly contradict my treatment over jailtime plan as well. One swift swipe of my pen will veto this legislation, because I am the voice of the real people. This is what you want and I’m your elected official. I will continue subscribing to the same tired arguments and plan to never evolve and listen to science, logic, demand, and rationale. Thanks for your votes New Jersey.

  6. To hear that Christie is being this way really sucks. I will be going back to Jersey in less than 2 months from the Marine Corps.i sustained an injury that marijuana would definitely help ease the pain. We need to not post on here and nip the problem in the butt towards the right people. Stop posting here send mail to Christie blue is fucking inbox up, make him think he had a trojan horse. Oh well guess I’ll be getting my weed in new york

  7. Gov. Christie is showing us he isn’t really interested in responsible taxation and spending. This war on pot is a waste, a fraud and a non-constitutional use of the public’s money. Why would Christie vote to continue it?

  8. Chris Christie is all business and he doesn’t like people who tries to figure him out.

    When it comes to politics, please don’t mind your own business. Politics is about you.
    It’s time to care about your freedom.
    VOTE!

  9. Cpl Groth(usmc)said Oh well, I guess I’ll be getting my weed in new york.

    Yea, and you’ll pay double the national average….LEGALIZE IT so guys like Cpl Groth and old farts like me don’t have to prowl the streets and duck NYC cops. It should be readily accessable in Walgreens or your local pizza shop.

  10. This is amazing news, considering that this is New Jersey we are talking about. Unanimous passage in the Judiciary Committee, and then 44-30 passage in the House is amazing progress. Gov. Christie will get his political cover from the New Jersey Senate, who will not pass this cannabis decriminalization measure.

    How many different Big Pharma companies have a presence in NJ? NJ politicians are more afraid of their campaign contributors than they do of any Federal backlash. In other words, political business as usual.

  11. New Jersey citizens have only themselves to blame for electing that fat bastard. The battle for reform STARTS at the polling booth, not several months down the road when the pig is already in office… If you live in NJ and didn’t vote for Christie, you need to ask yourself: did you do anything to help his opponent? Getting involved in the reform process requires more than just voting, it requires activism!

  12. You guys are very wrong about Mississippi, I know the law says one thing but I assure you 9 times out of ten whether you got an Oz. or a roach on you your going to jail. It has happened to me.

  13. US Government spends over $7.7 billion to fight drugs, out of which over $6.5 billion is solely for marijuana. I mean really!!! y do tax payers have to take the burden of such wastage of money for a substance that’s perfectly natural and is most efficient in its natural form? Tell Christie the difference between decriminalization and legalization. ohhh well he is too busy filling up his pockets!!!

  14. Hello,
    I am looking at the NJ bill. I live in NJ.
    If the fat, pompous, bully running the state like a lord over his minions would take blood alcohol tests he would possibly fail. As would many or most of the legislators.
    I think that testing for marijuana and drugs only is DISCRIMINATORY, and the law should include the mandatory testing of ALL legislative, judicial, and executive employees for ALCOHOL ABUSE randomly.

  15. Forty years ago, only two years as a nurse, I worked at a State Psychiatric Hospital near Boston and yes, most of the staff smoked! I was one of a handful of staff that took a three day “training seminar” on dealing with drug addiction in mental health run by the DEA or analagous agencies. They explained to us that President Nixon planned on legalizing pot and have it sold and regulated it like alcohol providing additional revenue for Federal and State Taxes. Forty years later, it still hasn’t happened and folks think this is a new plan. I am still a working psychiatric nurse and I still smoke pot. We have to fix this. I see the benefits medical benefits but I still believe in it’s psychological benefits that are not discussed as much pre

  16. Forty years ago, only two years as a nurse, I worked at a State Psychiatric Hospital near Boston and yes, most of the staff smoked! I was one of a handful of staff that took a three day “training seminar” on dealing with drug addiction in mental health run by the DEA or analagous agencies. They explained to us that President Nixon planned on legalizing pot and have it sold and regulated it like alcohol providing additional revenue for Federal and State Taxes. Forty years later, it still hasn’t happened and folks think this is a new plan. I am still a working psychiatric nurse and I still smoke pot. We have to fix this. I see the benefits medical benefits but I still believe in it’s psychological benefits that are not discussed as much in many sites. Just thought you might have an understanding as to what

  17. My friends here at NORML you have no idea of who this man is and what he may become soon and that is the greatest enemy of Marijuana in recorded history. More keyed up and psycho about it than Harry Anslinger was. Chris Christie may be the new US Attorney general soon. Together with Lord Mormom, the Jersey Knight Sir Chubby will declare war on the marijuana with the intention of overturning every states laws about medical pot and replacing it with a NEW federal system devised by Sir Chubby. They will also look to increase and introduce new penalties for possession and mandatory federal jail time for all people found to be growing cannabis. Sir Chubby will call out the national Guard and park a jeep with 2 MP’s in front of every dispensary in Cali and Colorado. They will arrest and detain anyone suspected of creating resisitance. A new federal ZERO tolerance policy towards pot. This is why the republicans cant garner full support from thier conservative but free thinking Independent brothers. These old school knuckle ballers with thier hate of pot really baffles me. When the white man first came to North America one of the first things the indians did to show friendship and willingness to live with each other was to offer the other a pipe to smoke. How this turned into an action that is revolted by society now (communal smoking) I cannot fathom. Think on the things Ive told you now.

  18. Hey there, the Europeans are the ones who brought the ganja to North America, the natives only had tobacco.

  19. How about get it legalized and put a tax on it. People have done so much more stupid shit drunk than high anyways.

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