Gov. Phil Murphy was elected on a platform strongly built around reforming of marijuana culture and ultimately it's decriminalization. Already the wheels of change are starting to turn as hearings for the reclassification of marijuana are currently taking place.
What hasn't changed is that New Jersey still arrests more people for possession than any other state in the country except one. Wyoming has the highest arrest rates, but year-after-year, possessions have risen at a blistering pace in NJ. From the year 2015 to 2016 arrests rose by 27% compared that to the second highest increase, Alabama which only saw it's arrests go up 22%.
What separates New Jersey from other states? Law enforcement officials say that it boils down to two things. New Jersey has a very dense population, and Census statistics show it has a very high police per-capita ratio. What this means is there are many more police-citizen interactions on a daily basis compared to more sparsely populated states. Possession arrests often stem from other stops, such as traffic violations, so the more interactions between people and law enforcement the more arrests there would logically be.
John Zebrowski, of the Sayreville Police department also spoke to NJ Advance Media and said that the smell of the drug has significantly increased leading to a "skunkier," more recognizable odor. Making it detectable to a larger degree by police officers during unrelated stops. However there is no delineation between NJ weed and that from other states, and other states have not felt such a similar increase. It may only be a footnote to explain the increase in arrests.
It should also be noted that there are bills in Trenton seeking to allow those with previous possession related charges to have their records expunged. These charges may seem little more than a traffic ticket but they can have serious consequences including potential job loss or taking away their driver's license.
If you are seeking representation for a marijuana related charge call today for a free consultation 800-709-1131 or fill out a contact form on our website for a no-cost consultation.We hope to hear from you today!