Local/State

NJ to consider marijuana decriminalization bill

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Jersey lawmakers are set to consider a bill that would decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana.

The Assembly's Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Monday on a proposal to downgrade possession of small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, making both punishable by fines.

The measure calls for penalties of $100 to $500 for marijuana possession and fines of $100 for possession of a pipe, rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia. Violators who are underage or have multiple convictions would be referred for drug counseling.

The move would bring the state's drug policies closer to those in neighboring Connecticut and New York.

This will be the bill's first legislative hearing. It has the backing of 15 Democrats and 3 Republicans who are co-sponsors.

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