TRENTON – The governor’s office and senate chairmen are nearing an agreement to resolve criminal charges related to the possession and use of underage marijuana. All sides hope this will be the last required before Governor Phil Murphy signs the New Jersey weed legalization bills.
As negotiations continue, legislative sources said Monday that an agreement will likely remove all penalties for minors – under the age of 18 – who are in the possession of marijuana and will impose fines on anyone between the ages of 18 and 21, rather than criminal charges to raise .
Cases involving minors are being handled by local police departments and the child’s family, the sources said. Underage users between the ages of 18 and 21 would face civil penalties ranging from $ 250 to $ 500, depending on the amount of marijuana. Details of the negotiations were first reported by Politico New Jersey.
This legal weed threshold also applies to adults over the age of 21. However, they are still subject to a fourth degree crime if in possession of more than 6 ounces.
The story continues under the gallery.
The sources stressed that the deal was not finalized and was subject to change.
If a deal is announced in the coming days, the Senate could push through the bills through a committee hearing this week. A full vote is scheduled for Monday, January 11th.
The problem of using underage and underage marijuana was seen as the final sticking point, although it was far from the first.
Since 2.7 million New Jersey residents voted to legalize weeds – roughly 2 to 1 or two-thirds of all voters – lawmakers have been engaged in negotiations to pass two laws that will turn the relatively abstract electoral issue and constitutional amendment into a specific, regulated cannabis industry.
As it stands, New Jersey would allow users over the age of 21 to own up to 6 ounces of legal weed. The drug would be sold in state-licensed pharmacies and grown in state-licensed cultivation centers, although only 37 cultivators are allowed in the first two years.
If the bills are legally signed, legal weed is subject to three taxes – a sales tax of 7%, an excise tax of $ 10-60, and an optional 2% tax levied by communities where cannabis companies are located.
All excise tax revenue and 70% of sales tax revenue would go to Impact Zones, one of 22 different cities in New Jersey where marijuana laws were most enforced.
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According to an analysis of New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union arrest data, blacks in New Jersey were almost 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than their white counterparts, despite similar usage rates among races.
According to an analysis by the USA TODAY Network of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, arrests of marijuana users under the age of 21 make up a significant portion of those marijuana arrests.
In 2016, New Jersey police made 32,279 marijuana arrests, including 11,838 with suspects under the age of 21 – about 37% of all pot busts.
From 2004 to 2016, New Jersey police arrested more and more marijuana each year – but fewer and fewer under the age of 21, compared to around 50% of all arrests.
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Mike Davis has spent the past decade covering local New Jersey news, marijuana legalization, transportation, and basically everything else that’s going on. Contact him at [email protected] or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.