As part of the New Jersey legal weed plan, state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would lay out fines and other penalties for underage marijuana use in the state.
The bill is designed to meet Gov. Phil Murphy’s demands, who refused to sign a legal weed bill without such penalties. The governor’s office said last week he would not sign marijuana legislation until lawmakers added clear, non-criminal penalties to deter underage use. His office recommended fining those under 21 for marijuana possession.
The measure is called A5211 and levies a fine of at least $250 on people ages 18 to 20 who possess up to six ounces of marijuana, the legal limit for those 21 and over.
Juveniles would not have to pay the fine, but they could face juvenile delinquency dispositions like community service if caught possessing marijuana.
Those who are aged between 18 and 20 and are caught with more than the legal amount to possess, could face fines of $500 or more under the bill.
It was this past November that New Jersey voters voted to legalize marijuana for those 21 and older. The legislation also only allows people that age to purchase it from dispensaries.
“The bill is largely a consensus between the Legislature and the governor’s office,” a source within the administration who was not authorized to speak publicly stated. “There’s some final technical edits that still need to be made. By and large, the governor’s office is working in good faith with the Legislature to get this finalized for next week.”
According to Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, who sponsored the marijuana bill, the chamber will not introduce its own version of the cleanup legislation until Thursday.
“It’s being re-cleaned up as we speak,” Scutari said earlier this week. “That bill that the Assembly has, although it’s very close, it’s not going to be exactly what we’ll introduce.”
The Senate and Assembly have scheduled voting sessions for Monday, and could pass the legislation then. This would make it go on its way to Murphy to sign into law.