Hearing in N.J. brings up decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana

The New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing Monday on a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Jersey.

The measure would reduce the penalty for possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana to a fine.Roseanne Scotti with the New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance says the current penalty of up to six months in jail is too severe. She says law enforcement efforts should be directed to other priorities.”We think it’s a waste of money and a waste of time, and we think morally it’s simply wrong to be damaging people’s lives like this for simple marijuana possession,” said Scotti.David Evans with the Drug Free Schools Coalition says decriminalization sends the wrong message to children.”We already have trouble in New Jersey with the medical marijuana,” he said. “When we go to schools and tell kids not to use pot, they say, well, it’s a medicine. It’s good for you.”It’s unclear if there’s enough support in the legislature to pass the bill or whether Governor Chris Christie would sign it into law.

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