Early in the morning of Saturday March 11th New Jersey State Police arrested Gary Blank III, a man wanted in connection with the murder of a commercial marijuana grower in California. After weeks of communication with the Mendocino County CA Sheriff’s Department, NJ police discovered the fugitive’s location in Red Bank, NJ and made the arrest.
Blank, 34, was one of seven former marijuana trimmers wanted in connection with the fatal beating of Jeffrey Quinn Settler. Settler ran the marijuana growing operation on his property, and in 2011 was violently attacked and beaten to death by a group who allegedly set out to steal the product of their employer. Blank is awaiting extradition to the California police for prosecution.
While he will almost certainly face charges of first degree murder, he will not be facing any manufacturing of marijuana charges. California law allows adults 21 years of age and older to grow up to six plants on their property as long as they are in a secure location and not visible to the public.
Growing Marijuana in New Jersey Legality and Penalties
New Jersey law regarding marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution is somewhat of a contradiction. While New Jersey does have a medical marijuana program, patients are not allowed to grow their own marijuana. They must purchase it from state-licensed dispensaries.
Possessing marijuana in New Jersey without a prescription is considered to be a disorderly persons offense if the amount of marijuana is found to be less than 50 grams, while quantities in excess of 50 grams is an indictable felony. Both charges can result in a prison sentence, a charge on the defendant’s criminal record, and collateral consequences such as a period of driver’s license suspension.
Growing your own marijuana in New Jersey is considered to be a felony. New Jersey has a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years if you are caught with even a single plant. A conviction of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute can be even harsher depending on the quantity discovered, including thousands of dollars of fines, suspension of driver’s license, and up to 20 years in state prison.
Contact a Monmouth County Marijuana Possession Attorney Today
In New Jersey, a charge for possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana can have serious consequences. If convicted, you can face steep monetary penalties, jail time, a criminal record, and a suspension of your driver’s license.
If you have been charged with possession, cultivation, or distribution of marijuana, the West Long Branch law firm of Chamlin, Rosen, Uliano & Witherington can help you mount a defense, and potentially avoid some of the more serious consequences. To speak with one of our experienced Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys today about your case, contact us online or through our West Long Branch offices at 732-440-3950.