New Jersey Officially Legalizes Marijuana for Recreational Use

On March 1, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills that officially set the NJ marijuana industry in motion. After three years of negotiations and tirelessly working to legalize the drug for recreational use for individuals over the age of 21, the Governor’s efforts have finally paid off.

Of the bills finally being passed, thereby legalizing recreational marijuana in the state of New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said, “As of this moment, New Jersey’s broken and indefensible marijuana laws which permanently stained the records of many residents and short-circuited their futures, and which disproportionately hurt communities of color and failed the meaning of justice at every level, social or otherwise — are no more.”

Among the negotiations was one particularly critical question: what are the penalties for those who are caught in possession of marijuana while under the age of 21? As per the new law, those under the age of 21 who are caught in possession of marijuana for the first time will be issued a warning. The second time they are caught, the police will issue a warning to their parents (if they are under the age of 18), and for a third warning, they will be referred to community programs, such as drug education or treatment. Take note that none of these civil penalties involve fines.

If you are under the age of 21 and are stopped by police, it is critical that you know and understand your rights afforded by this new bill. The new law states that police in New Jersey are no longer allowed to stop someone because they smell marijuana, they are required to have body cameras on at all times, and they are also not allowed to detain young people past issuing a warning.

While the new law is great news for many residents throughout the state of New Jersey, it is also worth noting that police in New Jersey have issued over 2,000 marijuana-related charges in 2021 alone, and if you are someone who has recently been charged with a marijuana-related offense, give our New Jersey criminal defense lawyers a call today. We are here to help.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

If you have recently been charged with a crime, you need knowledgeable legal counsel on your side. Our firm has helped countless individuals navigate the complex legal system for years, and we are ready to provide you with the legal assistance you deserve and need to move on with your life. Contact Rem Katcher Law Group, P.C. today to learn more about how our firm can assist you through this difficult time.