In February of this year, New Jersey joined many other states that have changed their marijuana laws to legalize recreational use. With the governor’s signature, three pieces of legislation became state laws that allow adults 21 or older to legally possess and use marijuana.
Adults can possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana without even incurring a civil infraction. However, it is still illegal to drive a vehicle after consuming marijuana or to light up in public, even in outdoor places like parks.
Do the new laws mean that no one will be prosecuted for marijuana in New Jersey any more?
There are still plenty of ways for people to break marijuana laws
The new laws allowing people to possess marijuana and aiming to eventually create a regulated industry will not stop people from committing crimes. There will still undoubtedly be people who grow marijuana in a way that violates state law and those who buy and sell it illegally. Additionally, underage users and those who supply them can still face criminal consequences, as could anyone who drives while under the influence of marijuana.
It will be a little harder for police to arrest people over marijuana. The smell of marijuana will no longer be probable cause for police officers to conduct a search of your person while out in public, your vehicle or your home. They will need to have other probable cause or permission in most cases.
Anyone who runs afoul of the new laws due to lack of familiarity with them can wind up saddled with a drug conviction when they thought they weren’t even breaking the law. If you’re facing charges, an experienced attorney can help.