On November 3, 2020, voters in New Jersey approved Ballot Question 1, legalizing marijuana in the Garden State. Effective January 1, 2021, the ballot measure will enact Senate Concurrent Resolution 183 (SCR 183) to amend the state constitution.
Be aware that wording within the law states that only “regulated” cannabis is legal, meaning it must be obtained either from a state-licensed dispensary or grown in accordance with state regulations. The state has not yet established regulations for retail sales or home cultivation. Be sure to check back frequently as new developments are made.
Medical marijuana was legalized in New Jersey when former Governor Jon Corzine signed into law 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.
New Jersey is yet to establish guidelines concerning recreational marijuana possession. The constitutional amendment is enacted as of January 1, 2021, however, no timeline has been set regarding regulations at this time.
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.
Just like possession limits, purchasing limits for recreational marijuana are still forthcoming. Expect more information as dispensary guidelines are established in 2021.
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.
Recreational cannabis cannot yet be consumed in New Jersey. The law prohibits “unregulated” cannabis, and regulated cannabis is not currently available.
According to New Jersey state law medical cannabis patients are encouraged to only consume marijuana in their private residences. Note that the 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.
The state urges that patients and caregivers only carry their cannabis when necessary.
When transporting, it is suggested that the patient's card always be on hand with the marijuana stored in its original labeled package.
Additionally, the patient or caregiver should only bring the needed to avoid any further suspicion.
New Jersey medical marijuana must remain in the state and cannot be legally exported across state lines.
Current New Jersey law prohibits home cultivation and the possession of a marijuana plant for any purpose.
It is possible that Ballot Measure 1 will permit cultivation later, if state regulators allow it. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), the state body responsible for establishing New Jersey’s recreational cannabis rules, has not yet commented on the matter.
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. Though Ballot Measure 1 legalized cannabis in the Nov. 2020 election, rules have not yet been established regarding recreational cannabis delivery.