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:

Weight
Class of
Offense
Maximum Punishment
25 pounds or more
 
First Degree Imprisonment up to twenty years; fine up to $300,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
Five pounds or more, but less than 25 pounds
 
Second Degree Imprisonment up to ten years; fine up to $150,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
One ounce or more, but less than five pounds
 
Third Degree Imprisonment up to five years; fine up to $25,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
Less than one ounce Fourth Degree Imprisonment up to 18 months; fine up to $10,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater

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:

Weight
Class of
Offense
Maximum Punishment
25 pounds or more
 
First Degree Life imprisonment, fine up to $300,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
Five pounds or more, but less than 25 pounds
 
Second Degree Imprisonment up to twenty years; fine up to $150,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
One ounce or more, but less than five pounds
 
Third Degree Imprisonment up to ten years; fine up to $25,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater
Less than one ounce Fourth Degree Imprisonment up to five; fine up to $10,000.00, or triple the street value, whichever is greater

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 MarainNJ Marijuana Lawyer and NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer NJ Law Offices of 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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“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

--The Declaration of Independence


“Chris Christie is a disgrace not just to NJ and the USA, but to humanity as a whole. His refusal to acknowledge the majority in this country of cannabis supporters is appalling. He is literally the cancer killing our country and we need to bury this sack of garbage in a landfill FAR FAR away from politics.”

--Jason Mueller, June 30, 2015,
Responding on Yahoo! to Chris Christie announcement
that he is seeking to be President of the United States

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Reefer, pot, weed, grass, Mary Jane, cannabis, ganja, dope, marijuana, marihuana: Call it what you will, spell it as you please, we will defend marijuana charges against you with the benefit of approximately seventy years combined experience handling marijuana and marijuana-related arrests. Centrally located in Middlesex County, New Jersey marijuana lawyers Marain and Epting also handle marijuana arrests and charges arising in Bergen, Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren Counties. Their cases have included marijuana arrests at the Sports Complex, and at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel. Other frequent hot spots for marijuana arrests handled include Seabright, and Seaside Heights. Rutgers University arrests in New Brunswick and Piscataway number among the frequent fliers. Towns that we cover include Asbury Park, Bedminster, Belleville in Essex County, Bergenfield, Berkeley Heights, Bernards Township, Bernardsville in Union county, Bogota, Bound Brook, Branchburg, Brick in Monmouth County, Bridgewater, Clifton, Clinton in Hunterdon County, Closter, Cranbury, Cranford, Cresskill in Bergen County, Deal, Demarest, Denville, Dover in Morris County, Dumont, Dunellen, East Brunswick in Middlesex County, East Rutherford, East Windsor, Edison in Middlesex County, Elizabeth, Emerson, Englewood, Englishtown in Monmouth County, Ewing, Fair Lawn, Franklin Township, Freehold, Garfield, Garwood, Hackensack, Highland Park in Middlesex County, Hillsborough, Hillsdale, Hillside in Union County, Jersey City, Kearny, Kenilworth in Union County, Lakewood, Lawrence Township, Mahwah in Bergen County, Manville, Marlboro, Matawan, Metuchen, Middlesex Borough in Middlesex County, Monroe, Mountainside, New Brunswick, North Brunswick in Middlesex County, Nutley, Old Bridge, Paramus, Parsippany, Paterson, Perth Amboy in Middlesex County, Piscataway, Plainfield, Plainsboro, Point Pleasant, Princeton in Mercen County, Rahway, Raritan, Readington, Red Bank in Monmouth County, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, Robbinsville in Mercer County, Rockaway, Rocky Hill, Roselle, Roselle Park, Rutherford in Bergen County, Sayreville, Scotch Plains, Seabright, Seaside Heights in Ocean County, Seaside Park, Secaucus, Shrewsbury, Somerville, South Amboy in Middlesex County, South Bound Brook, South Brunswick, South Orange, South Plainfield, South River, Sparta, Spotswood in Middlesex County, Summit, Teaneck, Tenafly, Toms River, Trenton, Union, Wall, Warren, Washington, Watchung, West Windsor, Westfield in Union County, Woodbridge, and other communities in Bergen County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, and Warren County. Arrested elsewhere? Call anyway. We can suggest experienced marijuana lawyers in other New Jersey counties, and even in states other than New Jersey.

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