Marijuana is treated differently from other drugs in New Jersey. It is not assigned to a schedule like other controlled dangerous substances. The schedules of drugs are used to classify substances that have a potential for addiction and abuse as well as an accepted medical use. Although marijuana has accepted medical uses, its use and possession are governed by a separate set of laws.
In New Jersey, the possession of fewer than fifty grams of marijuana is a disorderly persons offense. A disorderly persons offense is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. The possession of up to five grams of hashish is also a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey.
Any person possessing more than fifty grams of marijuana is subject to a fourth degree marijuana possession charge. When an offender is caught with more than fifty grams of marijuana, it is assumed that he or she intends to distribute it. This charge is punishable by up to eighteen months in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.
If an offender is caught possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, he or she is subject to additional penalties. If he or she is found with less than one ounce of marijuana while in a school zone, an additional year in prison is added to his or her sentence. For offenders caught with more than an ounce of marijuana, that penalty becomes a fine of up to $150,000 and at least three years in prison with no chance of parole.
The cultivation of marijuana plants is also a crime in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-4 states the penalties for growing marijuana in New Jersey. They are:
Three to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $25,000 for ten marijuana plants.
Five to ten years in prison and or a fine of up to $150,000 for any number of marijuana plants between ten and forty-nine.
For fifty or more marijuana plants, the defendant faces a fine of up to $300,000 and ten to twenty years in prison. An offender may be sentenced to both the fine and the prison time.
These penalties are doubled for a second or subsequent marijuana cultivation offense.
Selling marijuana is also a crime in New Jersey. The penalties for selling marijuana vary by the amount of the drug the offender is found with. Additional penalties also apply for selling marijuana to minors, pregnant women, and within certain areas.
Selling an ounce or less of marijuana is punishable by up to eighteen months in jail and/or a fine of up to $25,000
Selling any amount of marijuana between one ounce and five pounds is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or three to five years in jail.
The sale of any amount of marijuana between five and twenty-five pounds is punishable by five to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $150,000
Selling twenty-five pounds or more of marijuana is punishable by a jail sentence of ten to twenty years and/or a fine of up to $300,000.
The above penalties double if the offender knowingly sells marijuana to a minor or a pregnant woman.
If the transaction is completed within a school zone, public housing building or a public park, an additional fine of up to $150,000 is added to the offender’s sentence. If he or she receives a jail term, he or she loses the opportunity for parole or early release for the first half of his or her sentence.
Selling marijuana paraphernalia to an adult in New Jersey is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to eighteen months in prison. Marijuana paraphernalia is any item that is used to harvest, store, consume or process marijuana. Possession of marijuana paraphernalia is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail. Selling marijuana paraphernalia to minors under the age of eighteen is punishable by a fine of up to $15,000 and/or three to five years in jail.