The state Assembly today (6/25/12) plans to vote on a bill that would reduce penalties for being caught with less than half an ounce of marijuana, making it akin to getting a traffic ticket.
Gov. Chris Christie, however, said on Friday he would veto the bill.
The measure (A1465), which has bipartisan support, would replace criminal penalties with fines for those caught with fewer than 15 grams of marijuana — or enough for more than 30 joints.
Currently, those caught with small amounts of marijuana 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.
Under the proposed legislation, a first offense would draw a $150 fine, a second offense a $200 fine, and a third $500. In addition, violators under 21 caught with marijuana or adults busted three times would have to attend a drug education program. Those caught with paraphernalia would face a $100 fine.
Although a bill to decriminalize marijuana was introduced last month in the state Senate, it has not advanced.
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