TRENTON - A bill to 'decriminalize' possession of small amounts of marijuana unanimously has passed the Judicial Committee.

The bill would lower the penalty for small amounts of marijuana. Instead of up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine, a first offense would carry a $150 fine. The fine would increase for further offenses.

The bill's next step is a vote in the state Assembly.

Fourteen states have already decriminalized the possession marijuana, including New York and Connecticut. It remains a crime on the federal level.