New Jersey Holds Marijuana Cases in Municipal Court

marijuana and gavel

As the debate over legal marijuana in New Jersey rages on, the New Jersey Attorney General recently instructed municipal prosecutors to seek a hold on pending marijuana cases until at least the beginning of September. The outcome of the recreational marijuana issue is still unknown; however, this significant step may represent yet another on the path toward legalization.

When new Democratic Governor Phil Murphy took office earlier this year, some said it signaled the inevitable move to legal weed in New Jersey. This prediction has yet to become a reality but it may be closer now than previously. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a memo on Tuesday telling prosecutors in all New Jersey municipal courts to request adjournments of open marijuana-related cases until at least September 4th.

Mr. Grewal promised the Attorney General’s Office will provide guidance for prosecutors on how to deal with disorderly persons marijuana cases moving forward. In the letter to prosecutors, the Mr. Grewal wrote: “By the end of August, I intend to issue a statewide directive concerning the scope and appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion in marijuana-related offenses in municipal court.”

The AG’s office said the follow-up directive could “effectively amount to a moratorium of — or a substantial reduction in — marijuana convictions in New Jersey between now and future legalization.”

Under current New Jersey law, possession of even small amounts of marijuana, which is responsible for the vast majority of marijuana charges, is a criminal offense carrying serious penalties. If you are charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana under NJSA 2C:35-10(a)(4), you may be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail, a fine of $1,000, and a 6-month suspension of your driver’s license.

Often, first-time marijuana offenders are able to have their charges dismissed by completing the Conditional Discharge program. However, this diversionary option is only available for use one time in your life. Any additional charges for marijuana or drug paraphernalia that occur down the line cannot be dismissed without an effective defense argument.

If the pending marijuana charges in municipal courts across New Jersey are halted entirely, defendants will be able to avoid the aforementioned consequences and the accompanying criminal record that threatens their future. Whether marijuana arrests and prosecutions for simple possession end altogether is among the many outstanding questions New Jerseyans still face.

Marijuana Defense Lawyer in New Brunswick Municipal Court

If you are facing marijuana possession charges in Municipal Court in New Brunswick, Piscataway, East Brunswick, Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge, South Brunswick, Sayreville, or elsewhere in Middlesex County, NJ, contact the experienced marijuana defense lawyers at William Proetta Criminal Law for a free consultation about your case. We will thoroughly explain the legal ramifications of your situation, the possible defenses available to you, and walk you through the complex process ahead toward the best possible outcome. Call (732) 659-9600 or fill out our online form to speak with a knowledgeable New Jersey marijuana attorney.

William Proetta

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.