Are you planning to get cannabis in New Jersey?
Do you know the latest guidelines of the state regarding marijuana?
Well, if you are planning to get marijuana in New Jersey and also don’t know about the laws there then you are at the perfect place. This guide is going to cover everything that you need to know about marijuana in New Jersey. Either it is about possession, cultivation, or about consuming marijuana in the state, you are going to be a legislation expert after this guide.
Shall we start?
So, let’s begin:
Is Weed Legal in New Jersey?
Isn’t this the question that comes to your mind while dreaming about marijuana in New Jersey! Well, this must be your very first concern to know about cannabis legalization in the state before heading to any kind of marijuana activity.
To answer that question, in short, maybe it is legal!
Let me explain:
Cannabis in New Jersey is currently completely legal for medical use. However, for recreational weed enthusiasts, the state has recently proposed a law that would allow adult residents of the state to indulge in cannabis activity. From November 3, 2020’ public question 2 got approved this year on 1 January.
Although this law is uncertain right now and therefore, it is not clear that adults can have marijuana in New Jersey and the cops will not bother them! Therefore, until this recreational law comes into effect, possession of personal cannabis up to 50 grams is punishable with a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Well, within the upcoming time, you might be able to access recreational marijuana without any fine as the law is already on the way! Although you are recommended to follow the current local guidelines and regulations until officials do not implement recreational law.
Apart from this, medical cannabis in the state got legalized way back before this recreational proposal. However, at that time, medical cannabis was approved at once.
Therefore, in 2021 if you are planning a recreational marijuana trip to New Jersey then you are recommended to hold on and wait until the recreational law is not implemented completely. However, for medical marijuana enthusiasts, the state has already a medicinal cannabis program.
History of the State Regarding Cannabis
The historic journey of the state regarding cannabis has been quite interesting. As the state has regularly faced some changes in the legislation. Well, Governor Chris Christie had opposed the medical marijuana proposals many times which resulted in very delayed legalization.
Although ultimately, the state legalized medical marijuana in 2010 after passing the ‘Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) and became the 14th U.S state to do so. This law has permitted the state medical patient residents to obtain medical cannabis treatment for severe medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, etc. However, due to some circumstances, the state’s medical marijuana patient registry was opened on 9 August 2012.
This was the first time that the state has proposed a law for permitting cannabis usage for either of usages. Later on, this was got improved step by step whenever needed. As of 10 September 2013, Governor Christie signed into a law allowing patients younger than 18 years to get the edible form of marijuana for consumption.
Medical marijuana was legalized, however, there was much space for improvement, as initially, this medical program was quite small, very few physicians in the state were recommending cannabis, and also the cannabis cultivation for the patient was banned. That is why in 2011, the state’s medical marijuana law was described as one of the strictest medical marijuana laws among 16 states at that time that permitted medical marijuana.
Ultimately a separate medical marijuana expansion, the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act, passed the legislature and went into effect in July 2019 after Governor Phil Murphy signed it into law. This ultimate change in medical cannabis law expanded the slots for medical cannabis providers, created a cannabis regulatory commission. This update ultimately made it easier for the patients to obtain medical cannabis benefits.
Later on, as medical cannabis got legalized, people started demanding recreational cannabis legalization. Finally, on November 3, 2020, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment was approved and this legalization was aimed to make it possible for people age 21 or older to possess or consume cannabis. This law also brought the sales tax of 6.625% on the purchases of recreational marijuana while the local municipalities couldn’t exceed this tax above 2%. Well, this law is yet to be completely implemented.
So, summarizing the historic journey, the state has faced major changes in the cannabis legislation within the past 10 years or one decade. Most changes are positive for marijuana enthusiasts in the state. Although recreational marijuana law is uncertain right now!
Current Laws in Action in the State
Apart from the laws imposed in history, you have to be updated and aware of the latest laws and guidelines that are in action in New Jersey:
- Driving under the influence of cannabis remains illegal even after recreational law comes into effect.
- Sharing marijuana to minors (younger than 18 years) is illegal and there are heavy penalties for this marijuana offense.
- Medical patients are supposed to obtain medical marijuana from the Alternative Treatment Centres (ATCs) in the state. Accessing medical cannabis from other sources might lead one to legal trouble.
- Medical patients cannot grow their own cannabis plants instead, the plant must be acquired through “alternate treatment centers” licensed by the state authorities.
- As per the latest guidelines, medical cannabis was imposed with 4% of taxation, which is supposed to be eliminated in July 2022.
- Once the medical patient qualifies for the state’s MMP (Medical Marijuana Program) he or she must have to get register and obtain medical cannabis through Alternative Treatment Centres (ATCs).
Possession, Cultivation, And Consumption
Medical patients in New Jersey are permitted to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana in 30 days. However, for terminally ill patients, this limitation does not imply. Apart from this, as the recreational law comes into effect, its possession, cultivation, and consumption details will be updated as the law didn’t have specified it.
Cultivating cannabis plants in homes in New Jersey for any purpose is illegal and therefore, even medical patients cannot grow their own cannabis plants. The offender will be penalized accordingly.
Consumption of medical marijuana must be made into private space. Public marijuana consumption remains illegal in the state and the school or university, public places such as parks, public transports, consuming marijuana remains restricted.
Apart from this, smoking in non-smoking areas along with driving under influence of marijuana is illegal.
Medical Marijuana in New Jersey
Medical cannabis in New Jersey was legalized after the passage of the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in January 2010. Although initially, the state has slowed the medical marijuana registry program and re-opened from August 2012. The law permitted medically ill patients to get recommendations from the physician and then access to the medical cannabis program of the state.
Well, in beginning, the state has a quite restriction on the medical marijuana program, and also the authorities have specified the medical conditions. As medical patients were not supposed to grow their own marijuana plants and obtain medical cannabis from the authorized sources only.
Started slowly, the medical marijuana program of New Jersey got reached around 12,000 people up to the year 2017 in which the most of patients were adults.
The major update in the cannabis legislation came into July 2019, which improved most of the medical marijuana program’s areas. This update created a Cannabis Regulatory Commission and ultimately eased the process for the patients to obtain medical cannabis.
However, after this update in medical cannabis, the state faced major debate in 2017-19 to legalize recreational marijuana.
Qualifying medical conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease
- Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Opioid use disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Terminal cancer or illness, if the physician determines the patient has less than 12 months to live
- Tourette syndrome
So, these are the medical symptoms that directly qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program. Although physician’s recommendation and the further process to access medical cannabis is required to access cannabis medication.
Some Important FAQs
#1. How do you get a medical marijuana card in New Jersey?
Once the patient got diagnosed with any of the qualifying medical symptoms, the patient can register for the state’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) to access medical cannabis.
#2. Where is medical marijuana legal in NJ?
The state has legalized medical marijuana throughout the region. However, the consumption of medical cannabis must be made in private space only.
#3. How do you open a medical marijuana dispensary in NJ?
The state authority is no longer accepting any further applications for the new Alternative Treatment Center (ATCs). Although you can visit the official website for regular updates and further notifications.
#4. Can I possess marijuana for personal usage in NJ?
Possession of some amount of cannabis is decriminalized though the state has recently approved recreational cannabis law which might come into effect within the upcoming time.
#5. What are the counties where medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey?
Although medical marijuana is legal statewide, however, some counties and municipalities have banned marijuana-related businesses.
Future of Cannabis in New Jersey
After the recreational marijuana law implementation, the state might face a huge spike in the cannabis businesses as the lawmakers might increase revenue through these opportunities. Though right now, recreational marijuana might take some time to be completely available as even after medical legalization, the state has taken some years to make the process easier for the patients to obtain medical cannabis.
So, finally, in the upcoming time, the cannabis future will be bright and might bring huge new opportunities for marijuana enthusiasts.