“New Jersey is being really progressive in starting this conversation,” said DeVaughn Ward of the Marijuana Policy Project. “At two ounces, it would still be progress for the region. The reality is that for every increase is another life that could potentially be saved; somebody that could not be forced to encounter law enforcement.”
If this becomes law, it would mean fewer people going to prison if cannabis is their only offense, and no arrest records for those only guilty of cannabis possession and no violent crimes. So far, measure A1897 was supported with a 63-10 vote. It would replace arrests for up to two ounces with a $50 fine and would lessen jail time and fines for larger amounts of cannabis.
There’s also another bill currently in the Senate which would decriminalize up to two pounds of cannabis. It would give first offenders a warning and second offenders a $25 fine. The bill would also take away parole or probation penalties for those who use cannabis and would stop police from searching people on the basis that they claimed to smell cannabis.