New Jersey makes “distributing” marijuana a crime, separate and apart from merely possessing it. All marijuana distributions in New Jersey are felonies unless the distribution occurs within the confines of New Jersey's medical marijuana program. The severity of the crime depends upon several factors. One of those factors is the amount of marijuana being distributed. Another factor is whether the distribution is taking place in any of various specially “protected areas.” A third factor is whether the person has been previously convicted of distributing a so-called controlled dangerous substance.
To “distribute” marijuana in New Jersey means to transfer it from one person to another. It is not necessary that this distributing occur within the context of a sale. Money need not change hands. Money need not be involved at all. Simply passing a joint around from person to person is distribution. Moreover, the distribution need not have even successfully occurred. Under New Jersey law, possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute is treated the same as if the distribution had actually occurred.
As indicated earlier, the potential consequences of distribution of marijuana in New Jersey depends in part on the weight of marijuana being distributed. Here is how it works for a first offense:
The table just provided applies only to first convictions for distribution (or intent to distribute). When a second or subsequent conviction occurs, the punisments escalate, as follows:
Regardless of weight, growing marijuana is a first degree crime when the number of plants exceeds forth-nine. And regardless of weight, growing marijuana is a second degree crime when the number of plants exceeds nine, but less than fifty. When the number of plants is less than ten, growing marijuana is a fourth degree crime. These classifications for growing exist even when the marijuana is intended only for personal use.
In determining weight, the State considers any adulterants or dilutants. And marijuana itself includes all parts of the plant. However, the mature stalks of the plant are excluded. On the subject of fines, the court can impose an amount up to triple the street value of the marijuana when that exceeds the numbers listed above. And all marijuana convictions expose the offender to loss of driver's license in New Jersey. This loss of license applies even when no car or other motor vehicle was involved.
As indicated above, New Jersey has also defined specially “protected areas.” When distribution or intent to distribute marijuana occur in any of those areas, penalties are enhanced. These protected areas are school zones, public parks, public buildings, public housing facilities, and surrounding areas. Specifics concerning marijuana violations in these protected areas are provided elsewhere on this site. Please refer to the menus below, or in the left margin of this page.
Numerous defenses to marijuana distribution charges exist. Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are New Jersey marijuana lawyers. Both have successfully handled hundreds of these kinds of cases. They are available to apply their knowledge and their experience to your situation. Call them for a no-charge no-obligation conference.
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