marijuana joint

Updated July 17, 2018

Possession of small amounts of marijuana in New Jersey is illegal, but because of decriminalization certain first time offenders are able to avoid criminal penalties. This can be done by entering a conditional discharge program at the Municipal Court where you are charged. We frequently appear in the various municipal courts in Passaic County and Bergen County and assist clients who were caught with marijuana.

Related: Criminal Law, Drugs.


2C:36A-1. Conditional discharge for certain first offenses; expunging of records.

The statute allows first time offenders who are charged with drug related disorderly persons offenses to enter a conditional discharge program. Since possession of marijuana under 50 grams (and certain other marijuana possession-related charges) is one of the only drug related disorder persons offenses in New Jersey, the program is almost exclusively reserved for people who were caught with small amounts of pot. People charged with felony level drug charges may not enter the program. It is only available to people who have never been convicted of any drug offenses anywhere, and who have never entered any other type of conditional discharge program, PTI, or other diversionary programs. In New Jersey, you can only enter a conditional discharge program once in your life. Such people are known as “CD eligible.”

The conditional discharge program is similar to probation, but usually has fewer obligations. If a person is admitted into the conditional discharge program, they must report to a probation officer. The term usually lasts 12 months, but could last for up to 36 months. There are modest fines/penalties that the person must pay. If the complete the program, then the criminal charges are dismissed and there is no record of any kind of criminal conviction. That is the big advantage to applying for a conditional discharge.

If you violate the terms of the conditional discharge program, then the criminal charges will be reinstated. Usually, this means that the prosecutor will seek a conviction at trial, or you have already pleaded guilty, a criminal sentence.

Remember, the police and prosecutors have teams of people working to put drug offenders in jail. In the process, they may overstep their bounds or arrest innocent people.  If you have any question or you or a loved one were accused of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, please do not hesitate to contact us for a 100% free consultation.

Raff & Raff, LLP
Attorneys at Law
30 Church Street
Paterson, NJ 07505

Tel: (973) 742-1917
Fax: (973) 742-2454


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