New Jersey is on the right track with marijuana legislation as lawmakers have advanced a marijuana decriminalization bill ahead of statewide referendum in November.
The bill, which advanced on Monday, would decriminalize possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and reduce penalties for larger amounts.
The legislation, which was merged with a separate bill dealing with cannabis reform, was approved by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee in a 4-0 vote, with two abstentions.
The possession of up to two ounces of marijuana “would be an unlawful act subject only to a civil penalty of $50,” according to a summary of the proposal. Possession of more than two ounces but less than one pound would be punishable by up to six months in prison or up to a $1,000 fine for a first offense.
“If we’re going to start to break away at the layers of the systematic injustice of possession of marijuana, why not try to at least introduce bills and support bills that will get us to that end goal of legalizing marijuana?” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D) to Marijuana Moment. He is one of the chief sponsors of the bill.
“My take is that I support full legalization, but we got to take these small steps to get to that,” he said. “These bills demonstrate our focus and our goal of ultimately making marijuana legal and decriminalizing possession of the substance.”