On Governor Jon Corzine’s last day of office, January 18, 2010, he signed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act making it the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana. While this may seem like a big step for New Jersey, the medical marijuana market is still exceedingly small after over 10 years of legalization. This stems from the strict list of qualifying conditions, the expenses and hardship of registration, and the limited doctors willing to recommend cannabis to patients. The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act also only allows for a small number of ATCs (Alternative Treatment Centers) to be in operation at once.
Unfortunately, recreational marijuana is still not legal in the state of New Jersey. In fact, in 2017 alone, the New Jersey police department arrested a whopping 34,500 people for simple possession of marijuana proving that the state still has a long way to go.
New Jersey refers to its medical marijuana retailers as “Alternative Treatment Centers” or “ATCs.” As of now, there are only 9 ATCs mentioned on the state website. Each ATC undergoes a long and complex process with constant inspection and surveillance into their daily operations. New Jersey is quite excessive in making sure only the most in need medical patients can obtain marijuana. Medical marijuana also goes through a very strict process that requires each strain to be tested and studied. Each strain is put together into a book and given to patients across New Jersey.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state of New Jersey has allowed ATCs to deliver marijuana in order to keep patients home and stop the spread of the virus. Only ATC employees are allowed to deliver marijuana and they must sign a waiver with the state. Each delivery, however, must have a government installed GPS tracking system and a lockbox in the vehicle so each delivery car cannot deviate from their route.
There are actually no laws requiring medical marijuana services to limit their store hours. Therefore, found throughout New Jersey, is a large variety of store hours that each ATC can determine on their own. Many of the ATCs however have elected to close their stores at 6:00 pm.
No amount of marijuana can be sold to anyone without a valid MMJ card on hand along with their New Jersey ID. However, for medical patients in New Jersey, it is up to the doctor to determine how much marijuana can be purchased. New Jersey also set a cap at 3 ounces per 30-day period. Medical marijuana is packaged in ¼ and 1/8-ounce denominations and it is up to each patient’s physician to prescribe a certain amount per 30 days.
New Jersey focuses primarily on their strains for medical marijuana but does offer flowers and oils as well. For the most part, the majority of each dispensary consists of state-approved strains, but more and more varieties of marijuana products are coming to stores.
Due to the fact that recreational marijuana is still illegal across the state of New Jersey, there are no taxes for recreational marijuana and the sale of any will lead to jail time.
Currently, New Jersey is working on a tax phase-out across the state. Originally, medical marijuana patients had to pay the state sales tax of 6.625% but beginning January 1, 2020, the sales tax was reduced to 4% for all marijuana products. From July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, there will be a 2% sales tax. And finally, after June 30, 2022, all sales of medical marijuana will face no sales tax.
New Jersey allows for the possession of a 30-day supply for every medical marijuana patient. Therefore, the total possession differs from person to person, but no patient under any circumstance is allowed to possess over 3 ounces of marijuana products. However, it is up to the doctor to determine the amount each patient can legally possess similar to a regular prescription drug. Possession limits in New Jersey are very strict and marijuana should always be kept at home unless it is necessary to transport the product.
Areas in New Jersey that DO allow the use of marijuana:
Areas in New Jersey that DO NOT allow the use of marijuana:
Due to the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, any federal land is off-limits for smoking marijuana. Because of this, there are serious penalties for consuming or even possessing marijuana that will result in one being prosecuted under federal jurisdiction.
Medical marijuana is still a very small industry in New Jersey. New Jersey law has established rules and regulations that limit the growth of medical marijuana, which is why there are such a limited number of ATCs (Alternative Treatment Centers a.k.a. medical dispensaries) across the state. Also, New Jersey is only allowing the sale of medical marijuana to New Jersey citizens and has not established reciprocity within the state. New Jersey cultivators also have to follow a very strict growing environment that requires laboratory testing and strictly prohibits the use of pesticides.
New Jersey is known to be more strict in obtaining a medical marijuana card than other states. The list of pre-approved conditions is much more limited than other states and the conditions on the list are very severe.
Therefore, to obtain a medical marijuana card in New Jersey you must:
1. Book an appointment with a medical doctor in the state. However, you should know that many doctors in New Jersey are very against cannabis, and finding one to recommend cannabis can be a tough time-consuming process.
2. After seeing your doctor and talking about your ailments, a doctor will fill out and sign a recommendation form for medical marijuana.
3. Once approved by your doctor, you must register with the state and submit an application. If approved by the state, a card will be sent in the mail and you can begin purchasing from licensed ATCs.
Each year, a patient must set up another doctor’s appointment in order to renew their medical card. Renewing medical cards can actually be very pricey in the state of New Jersey and must be renewed annually.
As of now, out of state medical cards are not accepted in New Jersey. There also has been no mention of establishing reciprocity laws in the near future.
Transporting weed in New Jersey is a strict rule and must be followed under the New Jersey Police Department. When marijuana is in your vehicle, you must have it sealed and out of the reach of the driver. It is always best practice to leave your weed in the trunk of your car or behind the backseat. Note that New Jerse is the leading state in arresting people for marijuana possession. Therefore, do your best to never attract attention to your marijuana while in New Jersey and always consume cannabis in the privacy of your own home.
Driving while high is a bad idea for many reasons. Not only does it put you and other individuals at unnecessary risk, but you could also be charged with an OUI, similar to a DUI which destroys your driving record and greatly increases your insurance rates. These are lifelong penalties that can be easily avoided by calling an uber or hitching a ride with a sober friend. It’s also important to note that in New Jersey you can be charged if a passenger is lighting up next to you. When driving with your weed make sure it’s secured and complying with the rules in the section above to avoid penalty from the cops!
If you’re planning on traveling with weed to or from New Jersey, you might want to think again. Traveling with marijuana across state lines is federally illegal and violators may face large fines, jail time, and even criminal charges to their record. Even if you are heading to a nearby state that also has legalized recreational weed it is still considered a crime to cross borders with your stash.
Under New Jersey law, personal cultivation of any kind is prohibited. Therefore, no matter your reason or your age, it is illegal to grow marijuana in your home. Medical marijuana users must purchase any of their marijuana products through state-licensed medical dispensaries while in the borders of New Jersey.