On November 3, 2020, New Jersey voters approved – by a 2 to 1 margin – a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults 21 and older, effective January 1, 2021. Our Legislature is currently debating laws to implement the will of the electorate.

On November 4, 2020, after approval of the amendment, the Attorney General of New Jersey provided guidelines for use by police and prosecutors, which stated:

“The Amendment, however, neither legalized, nor decriminalized, the sale or possession of “unregulated” marijuana. Moreover, it does not take effect until January 1, 2021, and requires enabling legislation and regulations, which will set forth the legal amounts and lawful locations for the sale, possession and use of legal cannabis. As such, the possession of marijuana outside New Jersey’s medical cannabis program remains illegal under existing New Jersey laws.”

Thus, until legislation is in place, possession and use of even small amounts of marijuana remains illegal. Individuals who use or possess marijuana remain subject to prosecution and punishment.

The good news is that under legislation approved by NJ Senate and Assembly committees, which must be approved by the NJ Legislature and signed by the Governor, all open marijuana possession charges would be dismissed and all records related to certain unlawful acts of marijuana or hashish possession or distribution would be sealed. The law also includes other civil justice protections against discrimination for anyone with an arrest, charge or conviction of certain marijuana offenses. We are monitoring these developments to benefit our clients.

New laws, effective February 15, 2021, also allow for expungement of marijuana-related charges, many of which were not previously eligible.

Until then, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you defend against pending charges and expunge your record.

For individuals who are facing prosecution or sentencing in the New Jersey Municipal Court, the New Jersey Juvenile Courts, the Superior Courts of New Jersey, or who are appealing their criminal matters before the New Jersey Superior Court, NJ Appellate Division, or the Supreme Court of New Jersey, it is critical to have an experienced state and Municipal Court New Jersey criminal defense attorney represent you. The experienced criminal defense lawyers of Schwartz & Posnock appear in all State and Municipal criminal courts throughout New Jersey, and have convenient locations in Monmouth County (Eatontown), Essex County (Livingston), Union County (Linden), and Middlesex County (East Brunswick). Call us at 732-544-1460 or email us at info@schwartzposnock.com to schedule an appointment.