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Medical marijuana laws in New Jersey

New Jersey and several other states have in recent years legalized or decriminalized the possession of marijuana for medical purposes. However, users of medical marijuana may nevertheless encounter legal difficulties because the laws change frequently and can vary dramatically from one jurisdiction to another.

In general, the federal government still considers it a crime to possess marijuana for any purpose regardless of state laws with respect to the matter. As such, it is possible for someone to be compliant with state law and nevertheless face prosecution by running afoul of federal law. In such a case, it may be possible to attempt to mitigate criminal charges by claiming medical necessity; patients that are terminally ill or otherwise suffer from long-term and debilitating illnesses could be treated with greater leniency than would otherwise be the case.

Even in states such as New Jersey where medical marijuana is permitted, users may be prosecuted if they are believed to have acted outside legal boundaries. For instance, it may be considered illegal to sell marijuana or to possess it over a certain predetermined amount even if it is for medical purposes.

If someone faces drug charges related to the usage or possession of marijuana, their medical status may constitute a viable defense. In such a case, an attorney may be able to help someone to review their specific circumstances with respect to state and federal law and determine how to best proceed. In some situations, securing a physician's recommendation for the usage of the marijuana in question may be sufficient to avoid prosecution. An attorney may aid in amassing these and other forms of substantiating evidence and, if need be, advocate on a defendant's behalf before the prosecution.

Source: Findlaw, "New Jersey Marijuana Laws", October 13, 2014

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