New Jersey Marijuana Trafficking Laws

Can You Mail Weed Legally in New Jersey?

No, it is illegal to transport weed by mail in New Jersey. Also, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) specifies the legal use of cannabis in the state, and confirms that it is illegal to mail weed across state lines.

Additionally, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance according to the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Since the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a federal agency that complies with federal law, the agency does not accept cannabis packages. New Jersey residents are also not allowed to ship weed through private agencies. Third-party services that accept packages containing weed may be prosecuted as co-conspirators.

What Are the Penalties for Transporting Edibles Across State Lines in New Jersey?

According to a Resource Guide published by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the penalties for transporting edibles across state lines vary depending on the quantity and whether or not it's a first offense. For instance, individuals transporting less than 50 kg face a minimum of 5 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000.00. A second offense increases the jail sentence to a minimum of 10 years, and the fine to $500,000.00.

An individual transporting up to 99 kg or more than 10 kg of hashish faces a minimum of 20 years and a fine up to $1,000,000.00 for a first offense, or up to 30 years and $2,000,000.00 for a second offense.

Parties should note that penalties become more severe for larger amounts of weed, repeat offenses, and whether or not the crime resulted in serious bodily injury or death. Penalties may be up to life imprisonment and a fine of $75,000,000.00.

Edibles are ingestible products infused with cannabis. According to C.24:6I-7(6) of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) ACT, edibles may legally take the following forms:

  • Pills
  • Capsules
  • Syrups
  • Oils
  • Chewable forms (gummies and lozenges)

How to Get a Drug Trafficking Charge Dismissed in New Jersey

There are several ways people accused of drug trafficking can beat the charge. Some of them include:

Insufficient Evidence

The defense may demonstrate that the evidence offered is insufficient to establish the crime. Charges may be dismissed if the prosecution cannot prove that the accused owns the cannabis and intends to sell it.

Unlawful arrest

Accused persons can challenge the legality of the arrest and how the prosecution gathered their evidence. For instance, law enforcement may fail to read the accused their rights, or search without a warrant. Additionally, Section 2C:35-10b(i) of the CREAMM Act makes it unlawful to search or detain based solely on the smell of marijuana.

Plea Bargain

The accused may request a plea deal if they feel the prosecution has enough evidence to support their case. If accepted, the accused must provide sufficient information about a trafficking ring to reduce or dismiss the charges.

New Jersey laws recommend numerous penalties for persons caught trafficking drugs. Depending on several factors, the penalties may be more or less severe than those applicable to marijuana.

Drug Trafficking Facts in New Jersey

Drug trafficking involves the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, or transportation of controlled substances. Usually, people charged with drug trafficking are members of drug cartels with national and international networks. As a result, the penalties recommended for these offenders are usually severe.

New Jersey does not have specific drug trafficking statutes. However, Section 2C:35-3 of the New Jersey Statutes recommends severe penalties for persons designated as leaders of known drug trafficking cartels. Additionally, Section 2C:35-5 prescribes punishments for people found guilty of trafficking controlled substances.

New Jersey categorizes drug-related offenses into first, second, third, and fourth-degree violations. First-degree crimes are the most serious offenses and carry the harshest penalties. On the other hand, crimes in the fourth degree are the least serious and only attract minor punishments.

The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) announced that it intercepted over 96,000 pounds of illegal substances delivered through the mail in 2018. The DEA also keeps records of drug-related arrests made domestically. In 2019, the agency made over 28,500 arrests, nearly 9% lower than the 26,000 arrests in 2020.

New Jersey is part of the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA). According to a 2019 national drug threat assessment from the agency, the state has easy access to drugs like fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

How Many Grams of Weed Is Considered Trafficking in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the law does not expressly state how much weed qualifies as trafficking. Section 2C:35-5 of the New Jersey Statutes only separates drug offenses by the type and quantity involved. The section categorizes offenses as follows:

  • At least 25 pounds - First degree (Subdivision 10a)
  • Between 5 pounds and 25 pounds - Second degree (Subdivision 10b)
  • Between one ounce and 5 pounds - Third degree (Subdivision 11a)
  • Less than one ounce - Fourth degree (Subdivision 12a)

What Are the Weed Trafficking Consequences in New Jersey?

Section 2C:43-3 of the New Jersey Statutes establishes appropriate sanctions for each degree recognized by Section 2C:35-5. According to the law:

  • First-degree: Up to 20 years imprisonment and up to $200,000.00 in fines. Section 2C:35-5, proposes a fine of up to $300,000.00.
  • Second-degree: Up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000.00.
  • Third-degree: Up to 5 years in prison and up to $25,000.00 in fines.
  • Fourth-degree: Up to 18 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000.00.

According to Section 2C:35-7 of the New Jersey Statutes, anyone caught trafficking drugs within 1,000 feet of a school ground or on a school bus faces up to 5 years in jail and up to $150,000.00 in fines.

How to Transport Weed Legally in New Jersey

New Jersey issues six license types to marijuana-based businesses, including cultivators and retailers. The licenses with transportation benefits include:

Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator License

The CRC issues this license to businesses permitted to grow, package, and process marijuana. Also, this license allows holders to transport cannabis to licensed marijuana manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. However, they must not transport or deliver cannabis to consumers directly.

Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturing License

This license permits holders to purchase cannabis from cannabis cultivators and other authorized manufacturers. Licensees can transport marijuana and marijuana products to other cannabis manufacturers, cannabis wholesalers, and retailers. Holders of this license cannot transport or deliver weed to final consumers.

Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler License

Licensees in this category can purchase cannabis from cultivators and manufacturers, store the weed, and resell it to retailers or other wholesalers. Obtaining this license also authorizes wholesalers to transport weed legally to retailers or other wholesalers only within New Jersey.

Class 4 Cannabis Distributor License

The distributor license permits holders to legally transport marijuana from one licensed cannabis business to another, between cultivators and manufacturers, or between wholesalers and retailers. Distributors can also store cannabis for a short time before delivering it to the intended customer.

Class 6 Cannabis Delivery License

Holders of this license work with the retailers who receive Class 5 licenses and help them deliver cannabis to consumers. Licensees in this category can also receive consumers’ orders directly and help them purchase cannabis from retailers.

New Jersey also authorizes some people to transport weed legally without obtaining any of these licenses. Section 24:6I-20 of the New Jersey Statutes identified this category of persons as certified medical cannabis handlers. Per the section, handlers must be affiliated with licensed cultivators, manufacturers, or retailers as direct employees or on contract. It is the responsibility of the handler to assist in moving medical cannabis from one registered marijuana business to another, or to the final consumers.

To obtain any of the licenses, applicants must ensure every item listed on the CRC checklist is available. Qualified applicants must apply online and provide the required information.

Section 17:30-7.10 of the Adopted New Rules also requires the submission of accompanying documents, including:

  • Federal and state tax identification numbers
  • Department of Treasury-issued business registration certificate
  • Brief description of the business’ expected location
  • Zoning approval
  • Business plan, among others.

The CRC provides a fee schedule with information on each license. After making payments online, prospective license holders must submit the online application and wait for the CRC’s approval or denial. The CRC’s application guidelines provide more information on the application process.

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