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Marijuana decriminalization bill introduced in Senate

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A bipartisan group of legislators has introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession in small quantities.

The bill would decriminalize possession of 10 grams or less, treating it with fines rather than jail time. First offenders would pay $100, second offenders would pay $200, and repeat offenders thereafter would pay $500 per violation. Current legislation subject offenders to six months in jail, $500, or both.

The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Ron Rice, D-Essex, and Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, would not allow the growth or sales of marijuana.

“The key issues we’re talking about with people getting arrested for having small amounts of marijuana are that we clog up courts, clog up the jails, and have police involved in these things that are not that important,” Singer said. “By decriminalizing, we take an issue and make it a non-issue—and refrain from letting it go into a dark place, which I believe is legalization.”

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Gabrielle Saulsbery

Gabrielle Saulsbery

Albany, N.Y. native Gabrielle Saulsbery is a staff writer for NJBIZ and the newest thing in New Jersey. You can contact her at gsaulsbery@njbiz.com.

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LaQuay L. Juel February 19, 2018 11:00 pm

There are two other bills on the floor of the NJ legislature, one in each of the houses. Those two bills both completely and actually decriminalize Cannabis possession and use. This bill presented by Sen. Rice and Sen. Singer is presented as a means to end incarceration, yet allows fining, which could easily become debt leading to once again, incarcerationl; a ruse. It reinforces the idea that Cannabis is bad and should be demonized along with the people that use it. Any punishment for using a plant that is harmless and extremely healthy is absurd and not to be accepted. This bill is settling for 2 when you could have a 10 on a scale of 1-10.