New Jersey

NJ to consider marijuana decriminalization bill

TRENTON, N.J. - Testimony is almost unanimously supportive of a bill to decriminalize possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana in New Jersey.

The Assembly's Judiciary Committee heard from witnesses Monday on a proposal to downgrade possession of small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, making both punishable by fines.

The measure calls for penalties of $100 to $500 for marijuana possession and fines of $100 for possession of a pipe, rolling papers and other drug paraphernalia. Violators who are under 18 or have multiple convictions would be referred for drug counseling.

The move would bring the state's drug policies closer to those in neighboring Connecticut and New York.

The bill is backed by 15 Democrats and three Republicans who are co-sponsors.

Supporters said decriminalization is long overdue.

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