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Rutgers Football Marijuana Policy Shows Shift toward Leniency

Rutgers New Brunswick Marijuana Charges

Marijuana is becoming more accepted in many areas of society, including college football. Players for Rutgers University’s football team are subject to a marijuana policy that has become a bit more relaxed in recent years, reflecting an overall shift toward marijuana leniency.

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, is not the only NCAA member school that has scaled back its penalties for players’ positive marijuana tests. In general, the NCAA and its member schools do not treat marijuana as “cheating” like performance enhancing drugs. Of course, the side effects of marijuana use are much the opposite, delaying speed and reaction time of players.

While Rutgers has increased monitoring for performance enhancing drugs since 2016 in response to a NCAA investigation, football players do not face the penalty of game suspension until their third positive marijuana test. It is not until their fifth positive marijuana test that players are subject to removal from the football team.

The trend toward leniency, if not increased acceptance, of marijuana use among Rutgers University football players is accompanied by a seemingly increased acceptance state-wide. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has made public statements in support of decriminalization and possibly, the legalization of marijuana.

However, even if Rutgers University football players can use three strikes of positive marijuana tests before facing game suspension, they can still be arrested and charged with possession of marijuana by law enforcement in New Jersey for having any amount of marijuana in their possession. Although there are indications of political support for the legalization, or at the very least decriminalization of marijuana, the law in New Jersey has not changed.

What happens if I’m arrested for marijuana?

Under New Jersey law, it is illegal to possess marijuana. Most people are charge with a disorderly persons offense for possessing 50 grams or less of marijuana. Those who are convicted of this offense face up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. If you have more than 50 grams of marijuana in your possession, you may be charged with fourth degree marijuana possession, which is an indictable offense and carries the potential for up to 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

While existing New Jersey law on marijuana possession does not give individuals second and third chances like Rutgers University football team’s marijuana policy, it may also be trending in the direction of leniency. Just recently, New Jersey’s Attorney General announced state-wide adjournments of all marijuana cases before municipal courts in New Jersey until September. During this time, the Attorney General’s office will work to issue guidance to New Jersey prosecutors on handling marijuana cases.

Charged with marijuana possession at Rutgers in New Brunswick?

If you are a Rutgers football player or student and have been charged with possession of marijuana in New Brunswick, it is important to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively defend you against these charges. Depending on the facts of your case, your lawyer may be able to get certain evidence against you excluded if your rights were violated by the way the evidence was obtained, persuade the prosecutor to dismiss or downgrade the charges against you, or get you into a diversionary program like Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) or conditional discharge. For more information and a free consultation with an experienced marijuana attorney, call the law firm of Proetta & Oliver today at (732) 659-9600 or contact us online. We have helped numerous clients arrested for marijuana at Rutgers and throughout the Middlesex County area and we will do everything we can to have your charges dismissed.