• Possesion of a Controlled Sustances in New Jersey: All states regulate and control the possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), though each differs in its exact definition of CDS and the penalties for possession. New Jersey classifies not only well-known drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as CDS, but also the compounds used to manufacture them.
  • New Jersey Marijuana Laws: Learn about New Jersey’s laws and penalties for marijuana possession, cultivation, and sales.

New Jersey divides CDS into five “Schedules.” Schedule I lists the most dangerous drugs, which have a high probability of abuse and addiction, and no recognized medical value. Schedules II, III, IV, and V decrease in dangerousness and probability of abuse, and increase in recognized medical uses.

If you’ve been arrested for illegal CDS possession, you’ll need to consult the New Jersey Code that lists precisely which drugs fit into each group. Go to the statute (N.J. Stat. Ann. § § 24:21-5, -6, -7, -8, & -8.1) and find the substance you’re charged with possessing — it will be listed under one of the five schedules.

It is illegal in New Jersey to possess CDS for personal use without a valid medical prescription. Penalties vary according to the type and amount of CDS involved in the violation, as described below. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:35-10.)

Crime in the third degree

Possessing any amount of a schedule I, II, III, or IV CDS incurs a fine of up to $35,000, at least three (and up to five) years in prison, or both.

Crime in the fourth degree

Possessing any amount of a Schedule V CDS incurs a fine of up to $15,000, up to 18 months in prison, or both.

Disorderly person offense

Using or being under the influence of any CDS not for the purpose of treating a sickness or injury (as legally prescribed by a licensed physician) incurs a fine of up to $500.

Marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture are regulated by both state and federal law. In New Jersey, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. (N.J. Stat. Ann. § 24:21-5 (2019).) However, despite being a Schedule I drug, New Jersey does allow medical marijuana use under limited circumstances (and there may be exceptions to the laws described below for medical marijuana patients). And while it is also a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana in New Jersey.


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