While CUMMA does provide citizens the opportunity to legally possess marijuana in New Jersey, there is a very important element of the Act that all medical marijuana users need to know. In most criminal cases, it is the State’s responsibility to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in cases involving medical marijuana, there is a burden of proof that is placed on the defendant. In these cases, it is the defendant’s responsibility to prove that they were legally possessing the drug at the time of the arrest. The Act states the following:
2C:35-l 8. Exemption; Burden of Proof. a. If conduct is authorized by the provisions of P.L.1970,
c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.) or P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:61-1 et al.), that authorization shall, subject to the provisions of this section, constitute an exemption from criminal liability under this chapter or chapter 36, and the absence of such authorization shall not be construed to be an element of any offense in this chapter or chapter 36. It is an affirmative defense to any criminal action arising under this chapter or chapter 36 that the defendant is the authorized holder of an appropriate registration, permit or order form or is otherwise exempted or excepted from criminal liability by virtue of any provision of P.L.1970, c.226 (C.24:21-1 et seq.) or P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:61-1 et al.). The affirmative defense established herein shall be proved by the defendant by a preponderance of the evidence. It shall not be necessary for the State to negate any exemption set forth in this act or in any provision of Title 24 of the Revised Statutes in any complaint, information, indictment or other pleading or in any trial, hearing or other proceeding under this act.
b) No liability shall be imposed by virtue of this chapter or chapter 36 upon any duly authorized State officer, engaged in the enforcement of any law or municipal ordinance relating to controlled dangerous substances or controlled substance analogs.
If you have been charged with illegal possession of marijuana, even though you had a legitimate prescription, you will need an experienced criminal lawyer to ensure you can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you legally possessed the drug when you were arrested. Contact Fred Sisto to help you prepare all of the proper documentation and represent you in court in order to prove your innocence.