Decriminalize Pot: “The Punishment Doesn’t Fit the Crime”

My object all sublime

I shall achieve in time

To let the punishment fit the crime

– Gilbert & Sullivan: The Mikado

15 Democrats and three Republicans in the Assembly have joined to sponsor a bill to decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana. There will be a Judiciary Committee hearing for the bill (A-1465) on Monday at 10:00 AM in the State House Annex. The effort, led by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15), already has an impressive number of initial bipartisan sponsors. However, 23 additional assemblypersons are needed to assure passage. The complete list of sponsors so far appears below the fold.

As the Star Ledger points out, “Currently, those caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal use face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, in addition to a possible driver’s license suspension and hundreds of dollars in court fees. While possession of more than 15 grams and less than 50 grams constitutes a disorderly charge, possession of 15 grams or less under this bill will only call for a fine and possible drug treatment.

Three members of the Judiciary Committee are already sponsors: Chair Peter Barnes (D-18), Ralph Caputo (D-28), and Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25). You can call or email the other members: Vice Chair Annette Quijano (D-20), Gordon Johnson (D-37), John McKeon (D-27) and Holly Schepisi (R-39).

As Assemblyman Gusciora says, “The punishment really doesn’t fit the crime.”

A1465 Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA District 15 ; Assemblyman  MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL District 25; Assemblywoman  BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN District 15; Assemblywoman L. GRACE SPENCER District 29; Assemblyman PETER J. BARNES, III District 18

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle, Assemblyman Coutinho, Assemblywoman Tucker, Assemblymen Caputo, O’Scanlon, Diegnan, Assemblywomen Stender, Lampitt, Assemblyman Johnson, Assemblywoman Jasey, Assemblymen Ramos, Coughlin and Assemblywoman Casagrande

Reproduced with permission from OnLine Paralegal Programs:

Going Green
Created by: Online Paralegal Programs

Comments (2)

  1. deciminyan

    How to get marijuana legalized in NJ: Just give the Koch Brothers a 20-year exclusive franchise on pot. You’d be amazed how quickly the governor can turn around his position.

  2. Bill Orr (Post author)

    The bill to decriminalize possession of up to 15 grams of pot received unanimous support from the Assembly Judiciary Committee today. Speaker Sheila Oliver had previously said that if the bill passed the committee, she would post it for a vote. Assuming the Assembly passes the bill, the Senate should take up the matter, pass it, and present it to Governor Christie.  


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