Recreational marijuana is now legal in New Jersey. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (known as A21) was signed into law on February 22, 2021 by Governor Phil Murphy. Previously, voters in the state approved Ballot Question 1 to legalize cannabis in the November 2020 election. Additionally, two bills were passed accompanying the legalization act, A1897 and S3454, outlining further regulations for decriminalization, criminal record expungement and penalties for underage use.
Previously, Medical marijuana was legalized in New Jersey under former Governor Jon Corzine, and signed into law via the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), allowing safe access to medical cannabis for qualifying patients. The first medical marijuana dispensaries, or Alternative Treatment Centers, opened their doors in 2012, and the state has seen significant progress since. While recreational dispensaries are not yet open, regulators have stated their intentions for a quick launch, possibly making use of established medical dispensaries.
As of February 22, 2021, New Jersey residents 21+ may possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis or its equivalencies. Under New Jersey medical marijuana law, physicians determine the dosage allowed for the patient, with a cap set at 3 ounces for a 30-day period. That means that no patient is allowed to possess more than 3 ounces of cannabis at any given time. Under A1897, possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis has been decriminalized as well.
Purchasing limits for recreational marijuana are still forthcoming. Expect more information as dispensary guidelines are established in 2021. They are expected to match possession limits of 1 ounce or its equivalent.
Medical marijuana can be purchased from any state-licensed New Jersey cannabis dispensary (Alternative Treatment Centers). Each patient’s purchase cap varies. Physicians determine the proper dosage allowed for the patient, with a maximum set at 3 ounces for a 30-day period. Each dose is sold in quarter-ounce denominations. Where to Buy
According to the state Department of Health, patients can qualify for their license with the following conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Terminal cancer
- Terminal illness with less than 12 months to live
- Any other medical condition approved by the Department of Health
If the patient is resistant or intolerant to conventional therapy for:
- Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
If chronic pain, severe nausea, vomiting, cachexia or wasting syndrome occurs from the condition or its treatment of:
Patients can authorize a caregiver aged 18 or older to aide in the patient's medical marijuana consumption. The caregiver must also be a New Jersey resident and cannot be the patient's physician. Furthermore, the caregiver cannot have any prior drug felony offenses and may only aide one patient at any time. If a patient designates a new caregiver, they must obtain a new card with the caregiver’s information included.
Currently, recreational cannabis can only be consumed in a private residency. According to New Jersey state law, medical cannabis patients are also encouraged to only consume marijuana in their private residences. Note that the medical rules for consumption specify a “moving” vehicle. This means that New Jersey is hypothetically one of the few states that allows legal consumption in a parked vehicle. Cardholders are not protected should they be caught driving high or consuming in a moving vehicle, and can still be charged with DUI if this is the case.
Patients are prohibited from consuming medical marijuana in the following areas of New Jersey:
- School buses and public vehicles
- Any moving private vehicles
- School grounds
- Correctional facilities
- Any public places that disallow smoking
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of medicinal marijuana is prohibited in New Jersey. DUI laws remain the same for cannabis as any other substance. The law also includes the operation of any aircraft, heavy equipment, train or other vessel.
Unsealed cannabis must be "located in the trunk of a motor vehicle, behind the last upright seat in a trunkless vehicle, or in the living quarters of a motor home or house trailer." It is illegal to transport amounts larger than state possession limits allow without a commercial cannabis license to do so.
Any marijuana obtained in the state and cannot be legally exported across state lines. They same applies for both medical and recreational cannabis.
Current New Jersey law prohibits home cultivation and the possession of a marijuana plant for any purpose, despite being legalized for possession and use.
Currently, visiting patients with valid medical marijuana cards from their home state are granted the same protections and allowances surrounding possession and consumption as New Jersey resident cardholders.
Out-of-state patients are not yet allowed to purchase cannabis at a New Jersey dispensary, but there are plans to implement this feature into the state’s medical marijuana program in the near future.
New Jersey allows delivery services for medical cannabis. Rules have not yet been established regarding recreational cannabis delivery.