What is paraphernalia?
Paraphernalia is an apparatus or equipment that can be used to facilitate a particular activity. Paraphernalia generally has a negative connotation in criminal law because of its usual association with drug use.
What qualifies as marijuana paraphernalia?
Anything that can be used to facilitate the administration of marijuana qualifies as its paraphernalia, at least in colloquial terms. However, in determining whether an object is marijuana paraphernalia for the purpose of the law, the statute N.J.S.A. 2C:36-2 is used. This statute makes it unlawful for a person to “use, or possess with the intent to use” items related to growing, processing, storing, or ingesting marijuana.
There are certain factors at play, which decide whether a person is guilty of the offense. The statements of those in possession or constructive control of the object matter significantly for the verdict. It is also relevant for the purpose of the law, whether there was any drug residue on the object in question or the direct or circumstantial evidence produced related to the use of the object. The general usage of the item is also considered, including the instructions for use on the specific item.
However, perhaps the most important factor in determining the verdict of the accused is intent, which can either be actual or constructive. Thus, in order to be guilty under the above mentioned section, the accused needs to have the necessary intent to use the object as marijuana paraphernalia.
What happens if you are found guilty of marijuana paraphernalia offenses?
The possession or use of marijuana paraphernalia is a ‘disorderly person’s act’ and leads to a 6 month incarceration with a maximum fine of $1000.
The sale of marijuana paraphernalia is much more serious and is considered a felony. It is punishable by a maximum sentence of an 18 months incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000. However, a sale of marijuana paraphernalia to a minor will lead to a sentence of 3.5 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000.
Feel free to get in touch with us if you have found yourself in one of the following situations, or require more detail regarding marijuana paraphernalia laws.