N.J. Assembly to vote on marijuana decriminalization

    The New Jersey Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

    Thursday’s vote comes days after the chamber’s Judiciary Committee approved the measure unanimously.

    Fifteen Democrats and three Republicans are co-sponsors of the bill. It makes possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana a civil offense punishable by fines of $100 to $500.

    Repeat violators and those who are under age 18 would be referred to drug counseling.

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    A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate but hasn’t had a hearing. Gov. Chris Christie hasn’t taken a position on the legislation.

    Christie has proposed mandatory treatment rather than jail for nonviolent drug offenders. However, implementation of the state’s medical marijuana law has stalled under the former federal prosecutor’s administration.

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