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New Jersey has harsh penalties for distributing marijuana

There are a lot of situations that could result in an otherwise upstanding citizen facing charges related to the distribution of marijuana. Law enforcement has been known to use the presence of a scale as evidences of intent to distribute. That, of course, ignores the fact that people buying unregulated substances often need to check it to ensure they aren't getting taken advantage of by the seller.

Other times, people who are growing marijuana for their own use face distribution charges because police assume the amount of plants growing couldn't be for personal use. Whatever the reason why someone ends up charged with distributing marijuana, the potential penalties are quite severe.

Possession with intent and distribution are the same charge

New Jersey does not differentiate between possession with intent to distribute and actual distribution when it comes to penalties. Someone who has never even made a dollar actually selling marijuana could face the same penalties as a long-time dealer.

The penalties those accused of distribution face will vary, depending on the weight of the marijuana. The weight limits and penalties are slightly different for marijuana extracts or concentrates. If the arrest or alleged crime happened within 1,000 feet of a school, additional penalties are possible.

Jail time and steep fines await those convicted

Those caught with less than an ounce will face 1.5 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. For those accused of possessing between one ounce and five pounds of marijuana, the penalties include at least three years in jail but up to five, as well as a $25,000 fine.

For those caught with more than five pounds but less than 25 pounds, the jail term increases to between five and ten years, while the fine rises to $150,000. If the amount of marijuana is 25 pounds or more, the penalties increase to between 10 and 20 years in jail and a fine of $300,000.

For those caught in possession of marijuana concentrates of any form, there are also steep penalties. Any amount under five grams carries 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine. If the weight of the concentrates is more than five grams but under a pound, that person faces between three and five years in jail and a fine of $25,000.

For those with between one and five pounds, the jail time increases to five to 10 years, and the fine goes up to $150,000. Possession of five pounds or more carries between 10 and 20 years in jail and a fine of $300,000.

Finally, if the accused got arrested within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus, there's potential for another three to five years in jail and another $150,000 in fines.

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