Marijuana Bill Advances 
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Marijuana Bill Advances 
Posted by CN Staff on May 22, 2012 at 11:57:04 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press
Trenton -- Democrats and Republicans on the Assembly Judiciary Committee have found common ground on a bill decriminalizing possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana, voting unanimously on Monday to forward it to the full chamber. The committee's five Democrats and two Republicans heard almost uniformly supportive testimony for about an hour before the vote.
If passed by both houses of the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, it would downgrade possession of up to 35 marijuana cigarettes and drug paraphernalia, making both civil offenses punishable by fines of $100 to $500. Offenders under age 18 and those with multiple infractions would be referred for drug counseling. "The time has come to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana," Assemblyman Peter Barnes III, chairman of the committee and a Democratic sponsor of the legislation, said during the hearing. The bill has the backing of 15 Democratic and three Republican co-sponsors. Gov. Chris Christie's office said he hadn't taken a position on the bill. Mr. Christie has spoken passionately in recent weeks about a proposal to require mandatory drug treatment, rather than jail, for nonviolent drug offenders, arguing that addiction is a disease best treated by methods other than incarceration. The administration has stalled on implementing New Jersey's medical marijuana law, which was signed before Mr. Christie became governor and which worried the former federal prosecutor as potentially too permissive. The Senate version of the decriminalization bill, introduced Thursday, hasn't had a hearing. The law would bring New Jersey's marijuana laws more in line with its neighbors. New York and Connecticut are among more than a dozen states that have decriminalized possession of the drug.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: May 21, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Associated PressCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #3 posted by Richard Zuckerman on May 24, 2012 at 22:46:29 PT:
N.J. Assembly Caucus votes back to Committee:
Today, the Assembly Caucus voted for "a second reading" back to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, for the Committee to vote on the Amendments to the Bill. If and when the Amendments are heard and voted through the Assembly Judiciary Committee once again, then, hopefully, the Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver will schedule the Bill promptly at the next Assembly Caucus, which meets once a month. 
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Comment #2 posted by Richard Zuckerman on May 24, 2012 at 09:48:30 PT:
2 P.M. hearing today in N.J. Assembly Caucus
N.J. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver squeezed the Marijuana decriminalization Bill in for today's Assembly Caucus hearing for a "second reading", which would enable the Assembly to speedily send the legislation over to the State Senate. Anyone can listen to the audio for today's 2 P.M. (EST) hearing from N.J. Assemblywoman Angelini, a member of Prevention First, the organization which opposed the legislation in Committee, is expected to oppose this legislation. N.J. Assemblywoman Angelini had opposed the medical marijuana legislation before it was passed into law.Bear in mind, however, that N.J. State Senator recently introduced a Bill, S. 1977, which has not even been posted onto the website for downloading, other than the Bill number, which would decriminalize up to 50 grams of Marijuana (rather than only 15 grams) and would decriminalize driving while high on Cannabis. Of course, the driving while intoxicated on Cannabis is a very contentious issue. 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on May 22, 2012 at 18:36:20 PT
great news
Guarded optimism! That's how I view this. Is it a move toward legalization?or just a new way of using cannabis to extort money for the police and treatment industries? Time will tell.I'm starting to see legalization just over the horizon, but I'm afraid it's going to look like "legalized" gambling, with only 1 or 2 suppliers (casinos) for an entire state. 
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