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The dangers of owning drug paraphernalia

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Although New Jersey passed a law in 2021 that decriminalized the use of marijuana, many other controlled substances continue to be prohibited in the state. Possessing scheduled substances such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine is a crime in the state and can lead to years of prison time, hefty fines and even license suspensions.

What’s also prohibited in New Jersey is the possession of drug paraphernalia. Drug paraphernalia can broadly refer to any equipment or products used in the consumption, cultivation, and manufacturing of controlled dangerous substances. But what counts as paraphernalia, and what are the penalties that await anyone who violates the law?

What counts as drug paraphernalia?

New Jersey law gives a breakdown of some of the more common equipment used to create and consume drugs. The following items are illegal to own in the state:

  • Planting kits
  • Manufacturing kits
  • Isomerization devices
  • Drug testing equipment
  • Scales and balances to measure substances
  • Dilutants to cut controlled substances
  • Blenders, bowls, containers and mixing devices specifically for controlled substances
  • Capsules, envelopes and other containers to package controlled substances
  • Containers to store controlled dangerous substances
  • Objects used to ingest, inhale or introduce controlled substances into the human body (i.e., bongs, pipes, gas canisters, charging bottles, etc.)

To determine whether an object is drug paraphernalia or not, officials and prosecutors will consider factors such as the statement of the item’s owner, its proximity to controlled dangerous substances, any residue of substances on the item, instructions on how to use the equipment, and so on.

Penalties for drug paraphernalia possession, sale

It’s unlawful to possess drug paraphernalia with the intent to use it. A violation of this rule is a disorderly persons offense, which carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Manufacturing or selling drug paraphernalia is also illegal, which is a more serious crime than simple possession. The offense is a crime of the fourth degree. On conviction, a person faces as much as $10,000 in fines and up to 18 months in prison.

Drug use and materials are both illegal

To sum things up, both controlled dangerous substances and the equipment used to cultivate, manufacture and consume them are illegal. You could face charges even if you don’t consume drugs but own paraphernalia, so consider your legal options wisely.

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