Is Synthetic Marijuana Legal in New Jersey?

person spraying unknown solution onto pile of substance creating synthetic marijuana

Although New Jersey has made marijuana legal for recreational use, the state continues to ban the manufacture, distribution, or possession of any compound or mixture designed to mimic its effects. In other words, synthetic marijuana is not legal in New Jersey. Possession of synthetic marijuana can result in serious drug charges.

What Is Synthetic Marijuana?

Synthetic marijuana refers to any designer or manufactured drug containing chemicals that mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary active chemical in marijuana. However, because synthetic cannabis uses compounds other than THC to create similar effects as consuming actual marijuana, people who use synthetic marijuana can suffer severe medical complications, including:

  • Anxiety attacks
  • Elevated heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsions
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

These complications can become severe enough for a person to require emergency medical care.

New Jersey Law on Possessing, Manufacturing, and Distributing Synthetic Marijuana

New Jersey law makes it illegal to manufacture, distribute, or possess synthetic marijuana. The law defines synthetic marijuana as any material, compound, mixture, or preparation not included in the schedule of controlled substances or an FDA-approved drug, which contains substances (or their analogs) such as:

  • Naphthoylindoles
  • Naphthylmethylindoles
  • Naphthoylpyrroles
  • Naphthylmethylindenes
  • Phenylacetylindoles
  • Cyclohexylphenols
  • Benzoylindoles
  • Adamantoylindoles
  • Any other synthetic compound that mimics the pharmacological effects of naturally occurring cannabinoids

Possessing less than one ounce of synthetic marijuana (including adulterants and dilutants) constitutes a third-degree crime (felony offense), whereas possession of an ounce or more constitutes a second-degree crime. The charges carry serious penalties on conviction.

Potential Penalties and Defense Options When Facing Charges Related to Synthetic Marijuana

Penalties for a conviction for third-degree possession, manufacturing, or distribution of synthetic marijuana include one to five years in prison and a potential fine of up to $15,000. A conviction for second-degree possession, distribution, or manufacturing of synthetic marijuana carries a penalty of five to 10 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $150,000.

Here are some potential strategies our experienced criminal defense lawyers use for fighting synthetic marijuana charges:

  • Challenging the legality of a search by arguing that police lacked probable cause
  • Arguing that you did not have actual or constructive possession of the synthetic marijuana
  • Showing that the seized substance does not meet the definition of synthetic marijuana under New Jersey law
  • Challenging the quantity calculation, which may reduce the grading of a charge

How Our NJ Synthetic Marijuana Defense Attorney Can Help

If you’re facing synthetic marijuana possession charges – or charges related to the distribution and manufacture of synthetic cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids – in New Jersey, the criminal defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law can help you pursue the best possible resolution to your case by:

  • Independently investigating your case to recover all available evidence
  • Reviewing the facts and evidence we uncover to identify potential defense strategies
  • Explaining your charges and the possible outcomes for your case to help you make informed decisions about how to proceed
  • Challenging the prosecution’s case at each stage, including moving to exclude evidence or dismiss your charges
  • Vigorously pursuing the most favorable outcome to your case, whether through a plea agreement as appropriate or advocating for an acquittal at trial if you choose to fight your charges

Get the legal representation you need to defend your rights, reputation, and future when facing a synthetic marijuana charge. Contact William Proetta Criminal Law today for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options. The consultation is totally confidential and comes without further obligations.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.