New Jersey has strict drug possession laws for recreational marijuana, prescription drugs, and other substances. There are exceptions in the state for medical marijuana.
While New Jersey still penalizes possession of most drugs, both recreational and prescription up to a certain amount, there are a few legal exceptions to this rule that are important to know. These involve medical professionals.
Anyone who works in pharmaceutical manufacturing and the dispensation of prescription drugs must have appropriate licenses and registrations with the state of New Jersey, except for certain individuals who have special permissions under P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.). This includes:
For example, veterinarians and veterinary technicians can have larger amounts of sodium phenobarbital with them in certain situations because this is one of the chemicals used in euthanasia. However, they legally must report how much they purchase and carry to the humane society or animal control facility, so this amount can be tracked.
People in possession of drugs they are abusing for recreational reasons can face serious legal penalties, including fines and jail time.
The only exceptions involve people who work in pharmaceutical manufacturing or prescribing, either for people or animals. Even in these cases, the reasons for possessing substances are carefully monitored.
People found in possession of 50 grams or more of marijuana face conviction on fourth-degree charges and a $25,000 fine. Possession of less than 50 grams is considered a disorderly person.
No drug can be within 1,000 feet of a school property or school bus.
Third-degree crimes are felonies that may result in 3 to 5 years in prison, on top of the fine. Fourth-degree crimes may lead to a few months to 18 months in prison, on top of the fine. A disorderly person may be put in jail for up to 6 months.
Although these laws may seem harsh, New Jersey does encourage substance offenders to pursue detox and rehabilitation programs, especially if this is the first charge they face. This reduces or defers sentences, and it helps people who may struggle with addiction to get the help they need to overcome the condition.
Addiction is not a matter of willpower. It is a medical condition that requires evidence-based treatment. The state of New Jersey more often encourages this track than spending time in jail.
They have various programs in place to aid those struggling with substance abuse. These initiatives work to reduce recidivism rates by helping those who have committed drug crimes achieve lasting recovery rather than furthering a cycle of addiction and incarceration.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Registry Homepage! State of New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program.
New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Law. (February 2019). Department of Law and Public Safety.
Drug Scheduling and Penalties. Campus Drug Prevention.gov.
New Jersey Drug Possession Laws. FindLaw, for Legal Professionals.
New Jersey Statutes Title 2C. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 35-10. FindLaw, for Legal Professionals.
New Jersey Statutes Title 2C. The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C § 36-2. FindLaw, for Legal Professionals.
New Jersey Statutes Title 24. Food and Drugs 24 § 6I-1. FindLaw, for Legal Professionals.