6/29/2011 – The Garden State is joining the national discussion about changing marijuana laws. A bi-partisan bill to remove criminal penalties for adults in possession of a small amount of cannabis was introduced today in Trenton with strong initial support. A4252 “Decriminalizes possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana.” The bill has seventeen sponsors led by Assemblymen Reed Gusciora (D-25) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-15).
New Jersey performs more arrests for marijuana than for all other drugs combined. In 2009 (the most recent data) 22, 439 people were arrested for possessing less than 50 grams of cannabis. Currently, adults caught with anything from a joint to two-ounces are treated the same way, with a custodial arrest and a criminal prosecution.
Gusciora, Reed as Primary sponsor
Carroll, Michael Patrick as Primary Sponsor
Vandervalk, Charlotte as Co-Sponsor
Vainieri Huttle, Valerie as Co-Sponsor
Coutinho, Albert as Co-Sponsor
Tucker, Cleopatra G. as Co-Sponsor
Caputo, Ralph R. as Co-Sponsor
Ryan, Kevin J. as Co-Sponsor
O’Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. as Co-Sponsor
Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. as Co-Sponsor
Stender, Linda as Co-Sponsor
Lampitt, Pamela R. as Co-Sponsor
Johnson, Gordon M. as Co-Sponsor
Jasey, Mila M. as Co-Sponsor
Rumpf, Brian E. as Co-Sponsor
Coughlin, Craig J. as Co-Sponsor
Casagrande, Caroline as Co-Sponsor
“We are excited to begin this conversation in the Legislature and will continue to lay the foundation for this groundbreaking effort to cut costs and end the failed practice of criminalizing otherwise productive members of society for possessing a substance that is less dangerous than alcohol,” stated Victor Pinho, a Sensible New Jersey coordinator and NJ Chapter Coordinator for SSDP.
Check back soon at freedomisgreen.com for updates on this emerging topic.
Chris Goldstein is a respected marijuana reform advocate. As a writer and radio broadcaster he has been covering cannabis news for over a decade. Questions? [email protected]