Adopted Amendment: N.J.A.C. 13:45H-10.1
Schedules of Controlled Dangerous Substances
COMMENT: Dr. Wentz believes that the intent of the proposed amendments are commendable, but expressed concern that a person with a substance abuse issue who is arrested for possession of these substances may face incarceration for a period of between three and five years, at a cost to the State of $ 40,000 per year, in addition to lost wages, a diminished ability to earn future wages, and difficulties in re-acclimating to society following incarceration. The commenter also expressed concern that the proposed amendments fail to address the reason why a person would try to obtain these substances and that the priority should be to steer people who abuse these substances into treatment. The commenter recommends that the Division adopt the approach used in the State of Maine, which made the substances illegal but imposed civil fines only.
RESPONSE: The Division appreciates the commenter's concerns but notes that the Director is not authorized to impose civil penalties for possession of substances that are controlled under the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substances Act. In addition, the Division notes that, pursuant to P.L. 2011, c. 120, enacted on August 22, 2011, the New Jersey Legislature expressly criminalized the possession of the six substances placed in Schedule I under the proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:45H-10.1. The Division, therefore, is precluded from adopting the commenter's suggestion.
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