It’s More Than Just a Little Weed
For many, marijuana is an essential part of the college experience, whether it is used for social reasons or just to relax. Since at least 1996, more than 30 percent of surveyed college students admitted to using the drug. Even a significant percentage of college athletes admit to using marijuana — between 20 and 30 percent.
Like many other states, New Jersey criminally prosecutes the possession and sale of marijuana. A conviction for marijuana possession could result in the following penalties:
- 50 grams (equivalent) or less: A “disorderly persons offense” with up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine
- More than 50 grams: A felony offense with up to 18 months in jail and a $25,000 fine
Possession within 1,000 feet of a schoolyard will add at least 100 hours of community service to any sentence.
Selling marijuana carries significantly harsher penalties. A conviction for drug distribution is always a felony. Depending on the quantity, a conviction for selling marijuana carries the following penalties:
- Less than one ounce: Up to 18 months in jail with a $25,000 fine
- One ounce or more, but less than five pounds: Three to five years in prison with a $25,000 fine
- Five pounds or more, but less than 25 pounds: Five to 10 years in prison with a $150,000 fine
- 25 pounds or more: 10 to 20 years in prison with a $300,000 fine
Any marijuana possession or sale conviction in New Jersey will result in a six- to 24-month mandatory loss of one’s drivers license.
In addition to criminal prosecution for possessing or selling marijuana, many universities, like New Jersey’s Rutgers University, have their own sanctions. Rutgers’ drug policy states that drug use or possession “may result in loss of housing without refund, mandatory assignment of substance counseling, and/or arrest. Distribution of drugs can result in permanent expulsion from the University.” Students using drugs may also be required to participate in psychological services.
Possessing, using and/or selling marijuana can have significant consequences for college students. For that reason, the best idea is to leave marijuana and other drugs alone. However, if you have been charged with any type of drug offense, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and your future.