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Poll: Decriminalize Marijuana?

A bill floating in the state Assembly would do just that

A bill up for consideration by a state Assembly panel next week would decriminalize the possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Monday will review bipartisan legislation that would replace criminal penalties with fines for possession of enough weed for just less than 30 joints, according to a report in today's Star Ledger. 

The state director of the Drug Policy Alliance told the newspaper that the bill is the farthest marijuana decriminalization has ever gotten in the state Legislature. 

Currently, the penalty for possession of small amounts of the illegal drug is up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine. The proposed bill would drop the penalty to a $150 fine for a first offense, $200 for a second and $500 for a third. Those caught with paraphernalia would face a $100 fine. 

Anyone under the age of 21 caught for the third time would also be forced to attend a drug education program. 

Fourteen states, including New York and Connecticut, have already decriminalized marijuana possession, which remains a crime on the federal level, the report says. 

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