Cannabis Arrests Plummet In New Jersey Post-Legalization

New Jersey has recorded a precipitous drop in arrests related to cannabis manufacturing, distributing, and dispensing since legalizing adult-use cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

The number of people arrested for low-level cannabis dealing in New Jersey has plummeted post-legalization from in the thousands to fewer than three dozen, Politico reports. According to state Judiciary figures, from March 1, 2021, through August 15, 2022, just 34 people were arrested statewide for manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing less than an ounce of cannabis. In the two years prior to legalization, New Jersey police arrested 2,117 people for the same offense.  

Post-legalization, there have been 556 arrests in the state for the same offenses of between one ounce and five pounds, compared to 1,492 in the two years prior to legalization, according to the Judiciary data outlined by Politico.  

Under the state adult-use law, people caught selling less than an ounce of cannabis issued a written warning for the first offense; second offenses can lead to a fourth-degree crime charge. 

Prior to legalization, possession of less than 50 grams of cannabis was a disorderly person offense, a misdemeanor, and New Jersey police arrested 37,000 individuals (about twice the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) for that offense in the two years before legalization, according to the Judiciary data. During that time, there were 2,837 arrests for possession of more than 50 grams, a fourth-degree crime. Under the new law, it’s a fourth-degree crime to possess more than six ounces of cannabis, and police are not allowed to conduct searches based solely on the odor of cannabis. Since March 1, 2021, there have been 317 arrests for that offense, according to the data. 

In the two years leading up to adult-use legalization, there were 100 arrests for manufacture or possession with intent to distribute more than 25 pounds of cannabis and 172 arrests for between five pounds and 25 pounds. From March 1, 2021, and Aug. 15, 2022, there have been 79 arrests for more than 25 pounds and 102 arrests for between five pounds and 25 pounds, the data shows. In the two years prior to legalization, there were 429 arrests for operating a drug production facility; Since legalization, there have been 298 arrests, according to the Judiciary. 

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