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State Regulations

The Legality of Cannabis in New Jersey

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Cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical purposes in New Jersey. An individual can possess up to 6 oz. (170 g) with licensed delivery services having clearance. Growing here however is restricted to licensed cultivators only.

Eligible patients who have received a licensed physician’s recommendation must additionally submit an application for the issuance of identification cards from the state. The rules governing New Jersey’s medical marijuana program got posted early in 2011.

The qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state of New Jersey include:

  • ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease with the inclusion of Crohn’s disease
  • Intractable skeletal spasticity
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • HIV / AIDS
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Seizure disorders such as is induced by epilepsy
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette Syndrome

Possession is allowed at 2 ounces per month of usable marijuana though cultivation is still not permitted. The law allows for a maximum of six state-licensed “alternative treatment centers.”

Caregivers must be adults of 18 or older without any conviction for a drug offense felony and can only cater to one qualifying patient consecutively.

Marijuana is legal for both recreational and medical purposes in this state. An individual can possess up to 6 oz. (170 g) with licensed delivery services having clearance. Growing here however is restricted to licensed cultivators only.

Cannabis in New Jersey for recreational use became legal on February 22, 2022, by the signing of Governor Phil Murphy of an amendment for its legalization.

Prior efforts at legalization by using a New Jersey Legislature bill in the 2018–2019 legislative session were not successful. In December 2019, a referendum was placed by the Legislature for legalization on the 2020 ballot. Question 1 passed with a 67% vote on November 3, 2020. The New Jersey legislature passed a bill on December 3, 2020, which set up a recreational marketplace.

There were Disagreements between the legislature and governor about what the underage penalties would be and this caused a delay in the effective date of marijuana legalization.  In the “grey area” period, police continued to arrest marijuana offenders regularly.

Criminalization: New Jersey police in 2013, made 24,765 arrests relating to possessing small amounts of cannabis. This is the highest number of arrests they had made in two decades. The number of arrests had doubled in two decades and did not agree with the nationwide trend of declining arrests for the possession of marijuana that had started in 2007. New Jersey arrested 34,500 people on cannabis offenses in 2017, more than any other state in the nation.

Cannabis reform advocacy: New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform is a coalition advocating the legalization of marijuana in this state. According to the coalition organization, if cannabis is legalized it will generate appx. 300 million dollars annually for the state in sales tax revenue.

Public opinion: In 2015, Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics 2015 carried out an opinion poll publicly on New Jersey residents seeking to find out whether they supported the legalization, regulating, and taxing of cannabis. Among respondents, 33% “strongly supported” the idea, 26% “somewhat supported” the idea, 12% “somewhat opposed” the idea, and 27% “strongly opposed” the idea. A poll carried out in 2018 by Reuters-Eagleton indicated similar results, with 37% opposing and 58% supporting the complete legalization of “the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana.”

2017–2019 legislative debate on legalization: New Jersey State Senator Nicholas Scutari introduced legislation for the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in May 2017. Under this proposal, adults aged 21 years and above would be allowed to legally possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana flower, and 16 ounces of cannabis infused products that are solid including edibles. IT also stipulated 72 ounces of “liquid marijuana tinctures, drinks and oils,” and a maximum of seven grams of cannabis concentrate.

A tax imposed on marijuana product sales would start in the first year at 7%, and move in the second year to10% progressively increasing by 5% each year until it gets to 25%. It also would not allow home cultivation, unlike many other states.

This proposal didn’t pass.

2020 referendum on recreational use: A referendum was passed under Public Question 1 on November 3, 2020 which sought to amend the constitution of the state to legalize the use of cannabis for recreation by adults. This amendment passed by a 67% vote. This bill was passed on December 16, 2019, by both houses garnering a supermajority. It carried a 49–24 vote (with one abstention) in the Assembly while at the Senate it won by a 24–16 vote.

Under the new law:

  • Consumers at who are at least 21 or more may buy and possess not more than 1 ounce of marijuana, or its equivalent in other cannabis products.
  • It is prohibited to drive under the influence.
  • Purchasing, possessing or consuming cannabis is illegal for anyone under the age of 21.
  • Entities and people engaged in any activities permitted by the statute cannot be criminally prosecuted.
  • Home cultivation of cannabis is prohibited.

The new rules also established three different types of marijuana businesses which are to receive priority review as well as approval in the processes of application:

  • Social equity businesses – For those who live in areas that are economically disadvantaged defined as “zip codes whose average median household income is less than 80% of the state average, has a health uninsured rate that is at least 150% of the state rate, and has a poverty rate at least 150% of the statewide rate; or those who have had a previous conviction for a cannabis offense”.
  • Diversely owned businesses – This includes disabled persons, war veterans, women, minorities, or any combination listed.
  • Impact zone businesses – owned by people who are located in “impact zones,” defined as municipalities that have a large population, high crime rate, high unemployment rate, or high are s for cannabis.

An excise fee was also established for cultivation whose collection would support education, and economic development, as well as offer social support in Impact Zones.

This bill also prioritizes “microbusinesses”, which are essentially small businesses on 2,500 sq. ft. with a limit of 10 employees in order to promote greater integration in underrepresented communities.

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Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.

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