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Rice Takes On Non-Local Drug Market With Legislative Push

TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice wants to once again push legislation that would create tougher penalties for anyone who sells, distributes or purchases illegal drugs in a municipality where he or she does not reside, in order to contain and eradicate the drug problem in New Jersey’s communities.

“Not everyone in Newark is on drugs or sells drugs, but my city has a reputation as a drug marketplace regardless,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “Outside forces are exacerbating a problem that is destroying the quality of life in communities where drug dealers are open for business on our corners. There is an increasing number of individuals who travel into cities where they don’t live for the sole purpose of selling or purchasing drugs, and the only way to clean up our streets is to crack down on the number of outsiders who commit these crimes.”

The bill, S-2291, would impose a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and mandatory minimum fines for people who buy or sell a controlled dangerous substance in a municipality where they do not reside.

(See below)

Degree of Crime Maximum Penalties Under

Current Law (Up To)

Minimum Penalties Under

Rice’s Bill (At Least)

First $200,000/ 10 – 20 years in prison $10,000/ 2 years in prison

Second $150,000/ 5 – 10 years in prison $10,000/ 2 years in prison

Third $15,000/ 3 – 5 years in prison $5,000/ 1 year in prison

Fourth $10,000/ 18 months in prison $5,000/ 1 year in prison

Disorderly Persons Offenses $1,000/ 6 months in prison $750/ 30 days

Senator Rice’s bill would not affect the maximum penalties judges would impose for different offenses, but rather, he hopes the bill will ensure that the minimum sentences are strong enough to deter crime.

“Considering the negative effects that drugs have on our communities, we need aggressive legislation in order to make it clear to outsiders that the crime is not worth the time,” said Senator Rice. “Only then can we start to win the war on drugs.”