Will Marijuana DUI Arrests in New Jersey be Affected by Legalization?

Could New Jersey expect an increase in DUI arrest involving marijuana if the drug becomes legal for medicinal use? Nobody can truly know the answer until such a law takes effect. But with the increasing number of medical marijuana bills being proposed and voted into law across the country, one can only assume there will be more opportunity for marijuana DUI arrests.

Neighboring New York State may soon pass legislation — which would make it the 15th state to legalize medicinal marijuana — and the New Jersey legislature is on the verge of passing a similar bill. The legislation currently specifies that individuals with painful or debilitating illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis will be able to register with the state to use marijuana legally.

Not long ago, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram responded positively to the proposed law, which would allow patients to purchase the drug from a state-approved outlet, or even grow the plants at home. Calling it a “workable” law, Milgram agreed that there are concerns about how to enforce laws to ensure that the drug be used legally and only by patients who qualify.

Legally-registered New Jersey users would have a special photo ID and be allowed to possess up to six marijuana plants, as well as one ounce of usable marijuana. By law, these people would be prohibited from driving while under the influence of the drug, as well as be banned from smoking it in most public places. Proponents of the bill say that these restrictions could be enforced relatively easily, much the same as they are today. Detractors argue that it will be fraught with problems for the law enforcement community.

According to reports, the state attorney general’s office has sent recommendations to Governor Jon Corzine, who has indicated that he will sign the bill, regarding various means that the state can use to guard against potential abuses of the impending law.

Those abuses could manifest themselves in many ways, including a rise in traffic offenses — and subsequent court cases — involving driving under the influence of marijuana. As a New Jersey Defense Attorney, my team of talented lawyers has vast experience in defending those who have been arrested for drug DUI offenses. If you or a relative have been arrested for DUI, we suggest you seek the assistance of professional counsel to protect your rights.

Assembly should OK medical marijuana, CourierPostOnline.com, April 26, 2009

Approval predicted for medical marijuana, BuffaloNews.com, April 22, 2009

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