A Guide to Legal Cannabis in New Jersey

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New Jersey legal cannabis

To ensure you stay on the right side of the law, we’ve provided valuable information about legal cannabis in New Jersey.

Cannabis has been used for medical and adult-use (rec) purposes for thousands of years. The use of cannabis began in central Asia mainly for its beneficial healing properties. However, since the 1930s cannabis has been illegal in the United States

Cannabis legalization really picked up the pace in the 1990s. The first state to legalize and allow medical cannabis was California in 1996.

(More on that in the book Cannabis 101!)

Over the past decades, United States cannabis laws and rules have changed drastically.

New Jersey voters approved making cannabis legal. At this time, both state and federal laws regulate pot in New Jersey. Under federal law, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance. This mean the federal government thinks it has a high potential for abuse and has no medical value whatsoever.

Many state laws have a different variations of all kinds. In early 2021 NJ legalized certain uses of cannabis after a ballot vote in 2020.

New Jersey Cannabis Laws

Governor Phil Murphy signed the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) into . According to the law, those in New Jersey can buy and use cannabis if they are 21 years old and up.

These new laws have shifted away from fines and criminal penalties for public possession of cannabis if you’re under 21 years old:

  • First Offense: If you’re under 21 and caught with cannabis, you get a written warning.
  • Second Offense: You will be given another written warning with information about community service.
  • Third offense: Given a written referral to community based services.

Parents and guardians are notified if the person is under 18.  

New Jersey’s Adult-use Cannabis Laws: What’s Legal and What’s Not?

Cannabis use in New Jersey is restricted according to the amount you can possess, the locations for purchase and use, and cultivation and manufacturing rules. NJ also has restrictions based on age, not allowing cannabis under 21, unless the user has a medical marijuana card.

In New Jersey, you can possess, purchase, and consume small amounts of cannabis. Furthermore, you can smoke or vape cannabis on personal property.

Lodging establishments can provide set places for you to smoke cannabis.

According to New Jersey’s Smoke-Free Air Act, cannabis can be used wherever tobacco is allowed. Colleges, hospitals, parks, and restaurants may have no smoking rules, so you can’t smoke cannabis on these properties.

Stricter punishments apply to anyone in possession of cannabis on any public or private K-12 school property. Violators are subject to a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail if they’re 21 years or older. Softer penalties apply to anyone younger than 18.  

New Jersey’s Medical Cannabis Laws

Medicinal cannabis is for anyone with qualifying medical conditions. At the time of this writing, the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission allows treatment with medical marijuana. Currently, qualifying illnesses include cancer, arthritis, and anxiety.

Anyone with a medical condition who wants to use medicinal cannabis must register with the State to become a patient. Adults and minors who use cannabis for medical purposes can possess up to three ounces of cannabis at a time.

However, it is very costly.

Adults 21 and older in New Jersey can only buy cannabis from a licensed vendor. It’s illegal to be the weed plug if you don’t have a license. Licensed cannabis retailers can sell a maximum of one oz of cannabis (28 grams) to individuals 21 and older.

Is Selling Cannabis Legal In New Jersey?

Garden State residents can gift one ounce of cannabis to anyone of legal age with NO exchange of money.

Penalties are still in effect for anyone selling cannabis illegally.

New Jersey laws prohibit residents from selling cannabis on school grounds or private property.

New Jersey’s Cannabis Cultivation Laws and Potential Penalties

It’s currently illegal to grow weed in New Jersey if you don’t have a corporate cannabis cultivator license.

NJ state cannabis laws do not allow Garden State residents to grow weed plants. NJ is unique in the way the State does not allow cultivation. Even while cannabis is “legal”, home grow not only remains banned but illegal with stiff penalties in New Jersey. Currently, NJ penalties for growing unlicensed weed are based on the number of plants grown.

For example:

  • If you’re not a licensed cultivator and have under 10 plants, you can receive a fine of up to $25,000 and could spend four to five years in prison.
  • Individuals with more than ten and up to 50 pot plants can be charged with a fine of up to $150,000 and up to ten years in prison.

The more plants you’ve grown, the harsher the punishment.

New Jersey’s legal weed laws are strict but fair and offer several choices for those who want to use this plant.

Those concerned about the law should only buy from approved and licensed cannabis retailers and only possess one ounce of cannabis at any time.

Many in New Jersey are bolder and carry more.

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