New Jersey Lawmakers Consider Two Cannabis Decriminalization Measures

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New Jersey lawmakers are considering two cannabis decriminalization measures, according to an NJ.com report.

The Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee advanced one measure, a merger of A1897 and A4269, on June 15, the news outlet reported. The measure would both lessen the legal consequences for cannabis possession and increase expungement relief for past offenders, according to NJ.com.

Under current law, possessing or distributing between one ounce and five pounds of cannabis is punishable by three to five years in prison and fines of up to $25,000, the news outlet reported, while distributing less than one ounce can carry an 18-month jail sentence and a $10,000 fine.

A1897 calls for decriminalizing the possession of less than 10 grams of cannabis and replacing arrests with fines of $150 for a first violation, $200 for a second and $500 for each following offense, NJ.com reported.

A4269 would levy a $50 fine for the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, as well as new, scaled penalties for amounts greater than two ounces, according to the news outlet.

The new legislation, resulting from merging the two bills, imposes a $50 fine for the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis, NJ.com reported.

Lawmakers in the Senate introduced a broader decriminalization measure, S.B. 2535, earlier this month that would mandate a written warning for the possession of cannabis and a $25 fine for subsequent offenses, according to the news outlet.

That bill has not yet been taken up in committee.

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