NJ DUI/DWI Lawyer BREAKING NEWS–Ballot Question on Marijuana Legalization Approved for 2020

Ballot Question on MarijuanaHere at the Edward M Janzekovich law blog, we have made it a priority to keep our readers informed on all issues pertaining to marijuana legalization in this state. Last time we discussed the matter, we reported that Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey State Legislature had reached an agreement on recreationalpot use. However, a vote on legalization failed when legislators could not agree on a number of issues including taxation and expungement.

Recent news from late last month and early this month have presented a new roadmap to legalization, as well as addressing expungement. If marijuana is ultimately legalized this December, as analysts predict, then New Jersey could become the 11th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize weed for recreational use.

Ballot Question Passed

Although a majority of legislators previously agreed that marijuana should be legalized in the state, all proposed legislation failed last March when lawmakers failed to agree to the specifics of legalization. Late last month, New Jersey legislators passed a proposed ballot question for the 2020 ballot. This means that, in November, New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to legalize marijuana, and the question will be much simpler.

The New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Amendment will be on the ballot in New Jersey as a constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020. It will look like this:

A "yes" vote supports this constitutional amendment to legalize the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalize the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana.

A "no" vote opposes this constitutional amendment to legalize the possession and use of marijuana and the cultivation, processing, and sale of retail marijuana in New Jersey.

Essentially, voters are being asked to vote “yes” or “no” to recreational marijuana. If the amendment passes, New Jersey Senators and Assembly persons will be forced to figure out the specifics. In the meantime, all sales of marijuana products would be subject to the state’s 6.625% sales tax, and towns could pass ordinances to charge local taxes as well.

Other Steps Towards Cannabis Legalization

With the ballot question settled, lawmakers and industry leaders are moving quickly to address other concerns regarding recreational marijuana usage.

Shortly after the ballot question was settled, legislators passed new laws to address expungement, which Governor Murphy then signed. Amongst other things, S4154 calls for low-level marijuana convictions to be sealed, meaning the conviction is essentially hidden and cannot be used in the future.

Last week, more than 100 people gathered to listen to state Senator Declan O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, discuss marijuana decriminalization, legalization, medicinal use, and expungement.

On March 10, a large industry conference will be held in Edison, NJ, where lawyers, businessman, industry leaders, and lawmakers will take part in panel discussions and networking to address concerns around legalization.

With the November ballot rapidly approaching, more and more questions are being raised about the future of marijuana use in New Jersey – including questions regarding driving while high. One of the issues many lawmakers and law enforcement have been focusing on include how to police and enforce laws against driving high. State officials are working hard to figure out practical, technological, and/or innovative ways to determine when someone is driving under the influence of weed or pot.

Whatever decision is made, there is no question that changes will be made to the law in the not-so-distant future. If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted of smoking and driving, it is important to retain an experienced attorney who stays informed and ahead of all the changes to the DUI and DWI laws in this state.

NJ Driving While High Defense Attorney Edward M. Janzekovich Can Answer Your Questions

DUI and DWI law is constantly changing in New Jersey. If you or someone you know is arrested, charged, or convicted, you should call an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A good lawyer can make all the difference. To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today. We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Vote to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Delayed, as well as the Draeger DrugTest 5000

New Jersey Vote to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Delayed

In a surprise turn of events, New Jersey state legislators took action to cancel and postpone its vote to legalize recreational marijuana today.  Most news agencies reported that legalization was likely to occur, particularly after two legislative committees – the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee — approved cannabis legalization bills last week that would have made legalization possible.  Moreover, as we previously discussed on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, Governor Murphy and Senate President Stephen Sweeney reached an agreement regarding how marijuana sales could be taxed if cannabis were legalized.

Any debate about taxations schemes are moot for the immediate future, however, now that the vote has been delayed.  Although leading lawmakers apparently agreed on the terms of the proposed law, there ultimately was insufficient support to pass the bill.  Knowing that the legislation would fail, legislators chose, instead, to pull any formal votes on the law from the congressional agenda.

Despite this setback to legalization of recreational cannabis in the state, popular support for marijuana continues to grow.  According to a poll taken by Monmouth University last month, 62% adults in the state support legalization of recreational marijuana, and 68% believe legalization could be a benefit to the state’s economy.

Driving While High, Get a DUI

For the time being, driving while high is still illegal.  If marijuana is eventually legalized in New Jersey, every sign indicates driving under the influence of THC, the intoxicating compound in marijuana, will continue to be illegal.  In either case, if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated due to marijuana, you will face significant fines, loss of driving privileges, and possible jail time.

How You Might Be Prosecuted for Driving High in the Future

One thing that might change if marijuana is ever legalized in this state, however, is that New Jersey may implement new methods or devices to detect marijuana intoxication.  Currently, it is illegal to driving drunk in the Garden State, and most people know that the legal alcohol limit is .08% BAC or blood alcohol concentration.  What many people do not know is that there is still only one legal breathalyzer machine that may be used in the state, the Draeger Alcotest 7110.  It is the only make and model of the machine that may be used to prove breath alcohol content in this state, even though there are other machines and models that can and are used in other states.

In the future, New Jersey may choose to adopt a similar machine to test marijuana intoxication.  In Canada, one such government approved device is the Draeger DrugTest 5000.  According to the company’s own website, the Draeger DrugTest 5000 tests a person’s saliva sample quickly in order to identify for drugs like amphetamines, designer drugs, opiates, cocaine and metabolites, benzodiazepines, methadone, and cannabinoids (meaning marijuana and marijuana related products).  If such a machine is ever used in New Jersey, you can guarantee that there will be challenges to its reliability and effectiveness, as well as questions about what levels of drugs indicate legal intoxication.

If you or someone you know is ever charged with driving while high as the result of marijuana, THC, or any other chemical substance, it is important to get an experienced DUI and DWI attorney as soon as possible.  Only a good attorney working with an experienced expert can challenge drug intoxication evidence in many intoxicated driving cases.  It’s important to discuss the evidence against you with a trusted lawyer as soon as possible.

NJ Driving While High Defense Lawyer Edward M. Janzekovich Is a Lawyer You Can Trust

If marijuana is ever legalized for recreational use in this state, you can guarantee that the number of DUI and DWI cases related to THC and cannabinoids will increase.  If you or someone you know is charged, you will want an experienced attorney on your side.  A good lawyer can make all the difference.   To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients in Ocean County, Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County and Somerset County.

Legal Recreational Marijuana One Step Closer After Two New Bills Pass in Committee

Legal Recreational Marijuana One Step Closer in New JerseyOn the Monday after Thanksgiving, the New Jersey legislators advanced two separate bills through committee that will make marijuana more accessible and bring legal recreational marijuana closer to reality in this state.

The first bill makes big changes to the medical marijuana program, through a measure called “Jake’s Law,” and is one more change made since the medical marijuana program was greatly expanded in March this year.  The second bill plans to actually legalize the possession and personal use of smaller quantities of marijuana.  Both bills were approved by legislative committees, but will still be worked on and changed before a final vote of approval by lawmakers can be taken.  As previously addressed on the Edward M. Janzekovich law blog, Governor Phil Murphy has been working to legalize marijuana and expand medical marijuana since he took office, and today’s votes represent significant advancement of his goals.  This is the first time a recreational marijuana bill has made it out of committee to advance to the state legislature in the near future.

Medical Marijuana Program Expansion

“Jake’s Law” will reduce limits on the amount of medicinal marijuana that can be purchased by patients enrolled in the medical marijuana program – from 2 ounces to 2.5 ounces monthly.  The bill also creates a new Cannabis Regulatory Commission to control the program, and the commission will also oversee the anticipated recreational marijuana industry.  The law is named after Jake Honig, a 7-year-old boy who died from brain cancer this year who was helped by cannabis oil but could not obtain as much marijuana for medicinal use as needed.

The law also seeks to expand access to marijuana in the form of edibles, protect employees who are registered patients, and expand who may provide marijuana to patients.  Marijuana –  whether used as dried leaves, oil, or other forms such as edibles – can be helpful for certain patients to treat numerous medical conditions causing pain, nausea, dizziness, or seizures.

Recreational Marijuana Program Legalization

Committees from both the New Jersey Senate and New Jersey Assembly approved a bill to legalize weed today.  This means that the bill can advance for a  full vote in the legislature before being signed into law by Governor Murphy.  This is the first bill to make it past the introduction stage.  The bill is meant to make weed legal for possession and personal use for adults 21 and over, with limits set to one ounce or less.

Lawmakers anticipate that there may be changes to the bill before it is finalized.  Important aspects of the bill still being debated include details regarding taxation.  Currently, the bill would include a 12 percent tax, but Governor Murphy is pushing for a higher tax on recreational sales.  There are also questions regarding expungements of past marijuana possession convictions.

Additionally, some lawmakers have presented opposition to the law, suggesting that DUI and DWI rates have increased in states where marijuana was legalized, due to the increase in individuals driving high.

Smoking Weed and Driving in New Jersey

As always, it will remain illegal in this state to drive while under the influence of marijuana, cannabis, or THC (the active ingredient in marijuana).  Whether marijuana is obtained through the medicinal marijuana program or after it becomes legalized for recreational use, police officers will still treat high drivers the same as drunk drivers.  Although tests for marijuana intoxication are imprecise, there are increasingly more police officers trained and on-the-look-out for drivers under the influence. Anyone suspected of driving while intoxicated due to the marijuana will be arrested.

If a Court finds that a driver was impaired as the result of marijuana, cannabis, THC, or any other intoxicating substance while driving, and that influence resulted in impairment, then the driver can be convicted under DUI and DWI laws in the same way as if the person were driving drunk.

New Jersey Driving-While-High Attorney, Edward M. Janzekovich, Understands DUI Defense

If you or someone you know is pulled over and arrested or charged with intoxicated driving in New Jersey, you should call a good lawyer as soon as possible.  You want someone who keeps up-to-date with New Jersey DUI/DWI law and is ready to fight for your innocence. A good lawyer can make all the difference.  To speak with an experienced New Jersey DWI/DUI lawyer about your situation, call us at 732-257-1137 or contact us online today.  We serve clients throughout the state of New Jersey.