Legalizing marijuana has long been a controversial topic. Both sides of the debate feel very strongly about their stances. But, more people seem to be getting on board when it comes to legalization. This November, we saw 68% of New Jersey residents vote in favor of legalizing weed. New Jersey is certainly not alone when it comes to taking steps towards legalization. The benefits of marijuana are being considered on a national level. In the near future, the U.S. House will be voting on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act).
So, if the Act is passed, what changes will be made and how?
The U.S. House will debate the Act in the nearing days. If the Act were to be passed, it would deschedule marijuana. Currently, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug. This means it is in the same category as dangerous and addictive drugs, like heroin and ecstasy. According to NJ.com, descheduling marijuana would “allow states to legalize it, give banks the ability to offer credit cards and checking accounts to legal cannabis businesses, and make it easier to study any medicinal benefits of pot.” A lot of additional changes would be made by the passing of the act. For example, it would require federal courts to expunge prior convictions and allow prior offenders to request expungement, authorize the assessment of a sales tax on marijuana and marijuana products, open Small Business Administration funding for legitimate cannabis-related businesses and service providers, provide non-discrimination protections for marijuana use or possession, and require the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect data on the demographics of the industry. Each of these changes would positively impact communities that have been heavily affected by the War on Drugs. While this would be the first-ever congressional vote to remove the ban on cannabis, it is important to remember that while New Jersey and the U.S. as a whole are moving toward legalization, current marijuana laws still stand and must be obeyed.
Currently, the penalties for marijuana possession in New Jersey are as follows:
- 50 grams or less is considered a disorderly persons offense. This can result in up to 6 months of incarceration and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- More than 50 grams is considered a crime, which can result in a maximum of 1.5 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $25,000.
If you or a loved one is charged with a marijuana-related offense, reach out to our experienced and skilled firm today to discuss your case.
Contact our experienced New Jersey firm
Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC is an experienced Camden County criminal defense law firm located in Mt. Ephraim, New Jersey. We understand how potentially damaging a criminal can be, which is why we pride ourselves on our willingness to fight for our client’s rights. Our firm handles all criminal matters and is ready to provide you with our knowledgeable legal counsel. Do not hesitate to contact our firm to discuss your legal situation.