Policy News

There are several interesting bills pending before the State Legislature. I urge you to contact your State Legislstors and the Committee members for each of these bills.

S1977 Marijuana Decriminalization

S1977 decriminalizes possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana. It treats marijuana possession as a civil offense and sets a fine of $50 for possession that gets paid entirely to the municipality where the offense was committed. Currently possession of up to 50 grams is a disorderly persons offense that can result in a up to 6 month prison sentence and a fine of up to $1,000.

On Monday a bill to decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana unanimously passed a NJ Assembly Committee. Among those to testify was Mick Erickson, our Libertarian Candidate for Congress in the 10th district.

From our friends at the Marijuana Policy Project:

In exciting news, a New Jersey Assembly Committee voted 7-0 yesterday to approve Assembly Bill 1465, a bill that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession. The full Assembly will vote on this sensible bill on Thursday.

Please click here to contact your assemblymembers in support of this proposal today!

Assembly Bill 1465 would make possession of one-half ounce, or 15 grams, of marijuana a summary offense similar to a parking ticket. Currently, those caught with small amounts of marijuana face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

At our summer General Meeting the members present the NJLP voted to officially support Assembly Bill A4252. This bill decriminalizes the possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana. This bi-partisan bill was sponsored by Reed Gusciora (D) and Michael Carroll (R). As of this date 15 co-sponsors have signed onto the bill.

This bill is not perfect. The limit of 15 grams (approximately 1/2 ounce) is too low and "offenders" will still face $150 fine. It is a huge improvement to the current law. Offenders today face a criminal conviction with up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.

Today the NJ Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee voted to move A804 out of committee. The vote was 8 to 1, with 2 abstentions. The bill now moves to a vote before the state Assembly. Contact your State Assembly representatives and urge them to vote for this bill.

Listen to the testimony below.

This bill has come a long way. It a has already passed the State Senate, and Corzine has committed to signing it.

A804, NJ's medical marijuana bill is scheduled for a legislative hearing on Thursday in Trenton. We have gotten S119 through the Senate, we need a repeat performance on A804. The following is a message from the Drug Policy Alliance:

Here in New Jersey, you and I have been working hard to end the drug war. Next up is medical marijuana. Today, you can take action to help pass our state's Compassionate Use Act.

Testimonies Included Internationally Recognized Medical Expert Dr. Denis Petro, Chair of New Jersey Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Patients Desperately Seeking Help and Their Families

Drug Policy Alliance, for Immediate Release: Thursday, May 22, 2008. Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Trenton, NJ

I have been searching the NJ Legislative web site and found that they list all the bills currently in committee. I sifted through some of them and found a few I liked and more than a few I didn't like. One bill, S784, raises minimum wage to $8.50, then makes annual adjustments based on increases in the Statewide average weekly wage.

On November 12, 2007 NJLP Chairman Lou Jasikoff and I attended the Eagleton Institute of Politics panel discussion on publicly funded elections in New Jersey. For this year’s experimental test of the so-called “fair and clean elections” (FACE) process, candidates in three state legislative districts were required to collect a minimum of 400 $10 contributions from residents of the district to qualify for “clean elections” labeling and funding. In the 14th District Libertarian Assembly candidate Jason Scheurer managed to meet that standard.