Friday, May 25, 2012

New Jersey, U.S.A - lawmakers take action on marijuana possession

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The Assembly amended a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana to also require $50 of all fines collected to fund drug education programs.

People caught with 15 grams or less of marijuana would be subject to a $150 fine for a first violation, a $200 fine for a second violation, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent violation, under the bill (A1465) the Assembly was expected to approve yesterday.

 But its sponsor, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, (D-Mercer), said based on the testimony during a hearing on the bill Monday, he wanted to make some of the suggested changes. The amended bill will get a full Assembly vote at the next voting session, he said.

The changed bill also included a provision allowing judges to order a drug evaluation for an offender arrested a third time for possession of pot, according to a statement Gusciora issued.

"I am confident that with these amendments we will have a model decriminalization bill that realistically addresses persons charged with possession of marijuana," he said. "Unfortunately under current penalties, the punishment does not fit the crime."



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