In New Jersey, simple possession in an amount under 50 grams is a disorderly persons offense. While such a charge must be taken seriously, as it can have a dramatic effect upon your life, as a misdemeanor, it's not as serious as a felony.
As a misdemeanor offense, it is handled in your local Municipal court. (unlike the felony possession charge for >50 grams, which is handled in the County Superior Court)
The biggest downside to a disorderly persons offense is that it cannot be plea bargained.
As a disorderly persons offense, marijuana possession cannot be plea bargained: the prosecutor will not offer to drop a marijuana possession chargein exchange for a guilty plea on a lesser charge.
This does not, however, mean that the only options are to plead guilty or innocent.
Possession of more than 50 grams of Marijuana is a felony4th Degree offense (the lowest tier of felony) Felonies are also known as "indictable" offenses and carry heavier penalties, and all felony imprisonment is served in state prison.
As a Felony offense, it is handled in the Criminal Division of the County Superior Court.
Unlike a disorderly persons charge (<50 grams possession) in some cases a plea bargain may be possible, though overall the charge is more serious.
As a felony, conviction results in up to 18 months in state prison, loss of the right to vote, and may restrict your employment.
However, there are options for "Pre-trial intervention" in which conditions are set including a plea allowing for possible
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