Vaping, vape pens, electronic cigarettes, and similar devices are having a real moment right now, and a bad one. The FDA and CDC are investigating hundreds of lung illnesses that have been linked to vaping products. The New Jersey Department of Health issued a statewide alert in August 2019 asking health care providers to report lung illnesses, particularly in young people, to the department so that it can investigate whether vaping may be the cause of their diseases. The department is already investigating a dozen or more illnesses in the state that may have been caused by vaping. New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the state’s top-ranked legislator, has called for a total ban on vaping products in the state until public officials can further evaluate the potentially negative health effects of e-cigarettes and similar products.
Although no such ban has been passed as of September 2019, New York passed a similar temporary ban this month, allowing state lawmakers 90-days to investigate vaping health problems before reconsidering whether to allow vaping in the state. With vaping investigations ongoing, a similar ban in New Jersey is possible. With all these recent headlines and high-profile calls for vaping bans, you may be wondering whether you should keep or are even allowed to keep your vape pens or e-cigarettes in New Jersey. While vapes that you have already purchased and possess are still legal in New Jersey, many people are finding themselves charged with drug offenses like possession of marijuana and THC possession related to vaping. The following examines when you can be arrested for possessing a vape pen in New Jersey and how these criminal charges are prosecuted. If you have already been charged with having marijuana or THC in a vape or e-cigarette, it is imperative to seek knowledgeable defense counsel. Contact our experienced Middlesex County criminal defense attorneys to find out what are are facing and how we can assist you depending on the facts of your case. Please call (732) 659-9600 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
When Vaping can be Illegal in New Jersey
Currently, it is not illegal to possess a tobacco or nicotine-type vape product in New Jersey. This includes a tobacco vape pen, vape pods, or related equipment. Nevertheless, it is illegal to possess a synthetic cannabis product, THC oil, or marijuana wax (assuming that particular product is not authorized under the state’s medical marijuana framework), including if that product has been loaded into a vape pen. If police smell marijuana or otherwise have probable cause to believe that your vape pen contains THC or any other cannabis product, rather than simply with a Juul pod or other similar tobacco product, they can arrest you for possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, or for the newer and more specific charge of possessing a vape pen with a synthetic cannabis product. A law enforcement crime lab will test the vape pen following your arrest to determine if it contains a tobacco product versus a synthetic cannabinoid or THC product. If the pen that the police found on your possession contains such a controlled dangerous substance, you can face any of these serious criminal charges.
Vape Related Criminal Charges in NJ
If you are charged with possessing under 50 grams of marijuana and/or possession of drug paraphernalia for carrying a THC vape pen, you will likely be facing what is known as a disorderly persons offense. Your case will be handled in a municipal court and the penalties will be lower than if you had been charged with a felony-level offense.
If, however, you are charged with possessing synthetic cannabis or marijuana wax in a vape pen or with any other conduct outlawed by NJRS 2C:35-5.3c, you could be facing a fourth degree indictable offense. This charge is more serious than the disorderly persons offenses above. An indictable offense is similar to a felony in states outside New Jersey. You could be facing prison time and thousands upon thousands of dollars in fines if you are convicted of a fourth degree crime for possessing a THC or marijuana wax-filled vape pen.
Charged With a Crime Due to a Vape Pen in New Brunswick?
If you are arrested for a crime involving a vape product in New Jersey, you should consult an experienced defense attorney at the earliest possible moment. Our lawyers can help fight vaping related criminal charges in any court in the Middlesex County area, including in Woodbridge, Edison, Monroe, Carteret, East Brunswick, and Piscataway. Contact us anytime by calling (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation or send us a message for more information.