It is one thing to be found in possession of a small amount of marijuana on your person, but it is a completely different matter when you are found with more than one ounce of marijuana. In the state of New Jersey, if you are found in possession of more than one ounce and less than five pounds of marijuana, it is a third degree crime.
Recently, a trio from out of town learned this lesson the hard way. Three people, two from Washington, D.C. and one from Landover, Maryland, were arrested outside a New Jersey hotel after police reportedly seized five pounds of marijuana and around $30,000 in cash. The arresting officers were responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle that was parked in a fire zone just outside the hotel. Once police arrived at the hotel, they found a Mercedes-Benz that smelled strongly of raw marijuana. The police officers then searched the vehicle.
The police search of the motor vehicle allegedly led to the discovery of the cash and five pounds of marijuana, in addition to marijuana gummy bears, hashish oil, and promethazine with codeine. Police also reportedly found that one of the three people in the car had additional marijuana on their person. According to authorities, the total amount of cash related to criminal activity amounted to approximately $33,000.
As far as charges go, all three suspects were charged with a host of drug crimes: possession with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, possession of controlled dangerous substances (CDS), possession with intent to distribute drug paraphernalia, money laundering, conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Severe Penalties for Drug Charges in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the crimes that these three people were charged with carry heavy penalties. A conviction for possession with intent to distribute five pounds of marijuana can carry a penalty of 5-10 years in prison, plus a minimum fine of $150,000. Possession with intent to distribute drug paraphernalia is also considered a crime and is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine of $10,000.
It gets worse when it comes to the possession of CDS charge faced by all three suspects. This criminal offense is considered a felon.