NJ Marijuana Arrests on the Rise Despite Calls for Legalization

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

Marijuana use continues to gain acceptance in the United States. Not surprisingly, nationwide arrests for simple possession of cannabis have dropped in recent years. In contrast, instead of declining, marijuana arrests in New Jersey have increased., jumping 10 percent in 2012 and 2013, according to the latest New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime Reports.

The 24,765 arrests made in 2013 for possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana are the highest in 20 years. It is nearly double the amount of marijuana arrests made in 1993, when the state’s population was 12 percent less. For the 5 years preceding 2013, yearly arrests hovered around 22,000.

The numbers are particularly concerning since studies show three times as many African Americans as whites are charged with simple possession in New Jersey, although whites use marijuana at the same rate.

The increase in marijuana arrests began two years into Governor Chris Christie’s first term in office. There is speculation that the increased arrests are connected to the Governor’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination. His office denies this connection. What is apparent is that the country’s mood does not match this harsher crackdown. Indeed, a national Gallup poll found 58 percent of Americans favor legalization for adults. Similarly, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll in June demonstrates that the same percentage of New Jerseyans support legalization.

Nonetheless, marijuana use remains illegal in New Jersey, and has a very significant impact on an individual’s work, school, or immigration status.

For individuals who are facing state criminal prosecution or sentencing in the Superior or Municipal Courts, or the Juvenile Courts of New Jersey, or who are appealing their criminal matters before the Superior Court, the New Jersey Appellate Division, or the Supreme Court of New Jersey, it is critical to have an experienced state and municipal New Jersey criminal defense attorney represent you. The experienced criminal defense lawyers of Schwartz & Posnock appear in all State and Municipal criminal courts in 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.

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