New Jersey Cannabis Law

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A Guide to New Jersey Cannabis Laws

Anyone 21 or older can now legally buy marijuana products from the dispensaries that officially got clearance to sell for recreational purposes.

States that have legalized marijuana have made more than $10 billion in cannabis tax revenue since licensed sales began in 2014, Fortune reported in January.

Cannabis business

  • The Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) will have six types of licenses available: cultivator, manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, and delivery. For small businesses, microbusiness licenses will be available.
  • The CRC must prioritize applicants seeking to open businesses in “impact zones” – areas that have been disproportionately impacted by aggressive enforcement of marijuana laws – as determined by population, marijuana arrest rates, unemployment, and crime statistics.
  • In the first 24 months of legalization, the CRC will grant 37 cultivation licenses for medical and adult-use, though more will be available for microbusinesses. The CRC will determine the number of other licenses to issue overall.
  • The legalization law requires the Cannabis Regulatory Commission to prioritize applicants interested in starting businesses in impact zones and directs a significant portion of tax revenue and all revenue from the social equity excise fee to fund community supports and services in impact zones.

What do new cannabis laws do?

  • Legalization created a new, regulated cannabis industry for adults 21 and over to buy cannabis, overseen by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, a state agency to set rules and monitor the new marketplace, including licensing, product safety, and revenue.
  • Decriminalization ended arrests, along with civil and criminal penalties, for most adult possession of cannabis.
  • People will no longer face penalties for possession of less than 6 ounces of marijuana or 17 grams of hashish. For those with over the decriminalized amount, they will be issued a complaint-summons, and cannot be arrested, detained, or otherwise taken into custody.
  • Police can no longer use the odor of marijuana to justify a stop or search, for adults or for youth.
  • People with marijuana-related records have new protections against discrimination, and new resources to expunge records and dismiss pending charges.

Can I grow cannabis at home for my personal use?

  • No, New Jersey law does not allow people to grow cannabis at home for their own personal use. The only authorized growing of cannabis will be by businesses with cannabis cultivator licenses – but advocates are working to change that.

What’s the difference between “cannabis” and “marijuana”?

  • In the law, “cannabis” refers to marijuana from licensed cannabis businesses, which is legalized. “Marijuana” refers to cannabis purchased outside of the regulated market, which is decriminalized.

Who can buy?

  • Anyone – New Jersey residents or visitors – 21 years and older.

Where can I buy?

  • At any of the New Jersey licensed cannabis dispensaries listed here.

What can I buy?

  • In each transaction, dispensaries are allowed to sell up to the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis. That means up to:
    • 1 ounce of dried flower, or
    • 5 grams of concentrates (or concentrates in a solution), resins, or oils and other liquid forms, or
    • 1000mg of ingestible products (10 100mg packages) like gummies
  • A purchase of a combination of products may be 1/2 ounce of dried flower plus 2 1/2 grams of concentrate, or 5 packages of gummies and 1/2 ounce of dried flower.
  • Legally allowable product categories include dried flower, concentrated oils, resin, vape formulas, tinctures, topicals, syringes, lozenges, and soft chews, but availability will vary by dispensary. Perishable edibles like cookies and brownies are not available for purchase from any dispensary.
  • For equivalency purposes, depending on how the product is manufactured, tinctures are considered “concentrates in a solution.” Topicals fall under the category of “other liquid forms.” Syringes fall under the category of “ingestible products.”
  • Equivalency is based on total weight of the product sold. For products containing both THC and CBD, equivalency is based on the total weight of the concentrate. For example, a product containing 400mg of CBD and 100mg of THC, total weight is 500mg or 0.5 grams.
  • Reminder: The law allows adults 21 years and older to be in possession of 1 ounce total of cannabis and cannabis products.

How much will I pay?

  • Prices will vary by location and by product. All transactions are subject to New Jersey sales tax of 6.625% plus a social equity excise fee of 1/3 of 1%.

Will dispensaries be keeping records of what I buy?

  • Dispensary personnel will need to see a government-issued identification card to ensure purchasers are 21 years or older. They are not allowed to make copies of your ID or retain record of your purchase beyond what is required for the completion of that single financial transaction. Customers are free to voluntarily provide their information for customer programs – like mailing lists.

Where can I smoke my cannabis?

  • You may smoke in private spaces, however landlords may prohibit cannabis use on their property.

Can I take my purchase back home to another state?

  • No. It is still illegal to transport cannabis across statelines.

Can I give my friends cannabis as a gift?

  • Yes. You may give up to 1 ounce of cannabis to another adult 21 years or older. You may not accept any form of payment or compensation for the gifted cannabis.

Is it illegal to drive while high?

  • Yes. Laws regarding driving while impaired apply to being under the influence of cannabis.

Qualifying medical condition

  • Seizure disorder, including epilepsy; intractable skeletal muscular spasticity; post- traumatic stress disorder; glaucoma; positive status for human immunodeficiency virus; acquired immune deficiency syndrome; cancer; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; multiple sclerosis; muscular dystrophy; inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease; terminal illness, if the patient has a prognosis of less than 12 months of life; anxiety; migraine; Tourette’s syndrome; dysmenorrhea; chronic pain; opioid use disorder; or any other medical condition or its treatment that is approved by the commission.

Registry of qualifying patients, designated, institutional caregivers.

  • The commission shall establish a registry of qualifying patients and their designated caregivers and shall establish a means of identifying and verifying the registration status of patients and designated caregivers who are registered with the commission. Registration with the commission shall be valid for two years. A patient or designated caregiver shall be registered with the commission upon submitting the following, in accordance with regulations adopted by the commission:
    • documentation of a health care practitioner’s authorization for the patient for the medical use of cannabis;
  • an application or renewal fee, which may be based on a sliding scale as determined by the commission;
    • the name, home address, and date of birth of the patient and each designated caregiver, as applicable;
    • the name, address, and telephone number of the patient’s health care practitioner; and
  • up to one alternate address for the patient, which may be used for delivery of medical cannabis to the patient pursuant to section 27 of P.L.2019, c.153 (C.24:6I-20).
  • Each qualifying patient may concurrently have up to two designated caregivers. A qualifying patient may petition the commission for approval to concurrently have more than two designated caregivers, which petition shall be approved if the commission finds that allowing the patient additional designated caregivers is necessary to meet the patient’s treatment needs and is consistent with the provisions of P.L.2009, c.307 (C.24:6I-1 et al.).

New Jersey Marijuana Laws and Penalties

New Jersey Laws and Penalties   
OffensePenaltyIncarcerationMax. Fine
6 oz or lessN/ANone$0
More than 6 ozCrime1.5 years$25,000
Within 1000 feet of a school adds 100 hours of community service, as well as an additional fine.   
Less than 1 oz (first offense)N/ANone$0
Less than 1 oz (subsequent offense)Crime18 months$25,000
more than 1 oz – less than 5 lbsCrime3 – 5 years$25,000
5 – less than 25 lbsCrime5 – 10 years$150,000
25 lbs or moreCrime10* – 20 years$300,000
Within 1000 feet of a school or school busCrime3 – 5 years$150,000
Includes possession with the intent to distribute   
To minors or pregnant women carries a double term of imprisonment and fine.   
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
1 oz – less than 5 lbs (less than 10 plants)Crime3 – 5 years$25,000
5 – less than 25 lbs (10 – less than 50 plants)Crime5 – 10 years$150,000
More than 25 lbs (50 plants or more)Crime10* – 20 years$300,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
Hash & Concentrates   
Possession of 17 g or lessN/ANone$0
Possession of more than 17 gCrime18 months$25,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of less than 5 g (first offense)N/ANone$0
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of less than 5 g (subsequent offense)Crime18 months$25,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of more than 5 g – less than 1 lbCrime3* – 5 years$25,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 1 lb – less than 5 lbsCrime5* – 10 years$150,000
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 5 lbs or moreCrime10* – 20 years$300,000
Within 1000 feet of a school or school busCrime3* – 5 years$150,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence   
Possession or use of paraphernaliaN/ANone$0
Sale of paraphernaliaCrime18 months$10,000
Failure to turn over marijuana to a police officer is a misdemeanor. Being under the influence of marijuana is a misdemeanor. Potential punishment is listed below in Penalty Details.   
If under 17 year, driving privileges shall be suspended for 6 months – 2 years   

Cannabis Tax Guide

  • Municipalities can enact by ordinance a local cannabis tax that cannot exceed 2% for cannabis cultivator, manufacturer, and/or retailer;
  • 1% for wholesalers. The tax percentage is based on the receipts for each sale and is paid directly to the municipality in the manner prescribed by the municipality. Any delinquencies are treated the same as delinquent property taxes. The tax cannot apply to delivery services to consumers or transfers for the purpose of bulk transportation.

Medical marijuana: New Jersey is in the process of slowly lowering taxes on medical cannabis purchases:

  • 4% on sales made until June 30, 2021
  • 2% on sales made between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022
  • 0% on sales made on and after July 1, 2022
  • Adult use retail: New Jersey’s recreational program is expected to come online later this year. Sales will be subject to the 6.625% statewide sales tax, but no specific marijuana excise tax. Local municipalities will be permitted to tack on an additional 2% sales tax. So expect to see a total out-the-door tax of roughly 9%.

Cannabis Advertising Guide

  1. Alternative treatment centers shall restrict signage to black text on a white background on external signage, labeling and brochures for the alternative treatment center.
  2. Alternative treatment center signage shall not be illuminated at any time.
  3. Alternative treatment centers shall not display on the exterior of the facility advertisements for medicinal marijuana or a brand name except for purposes of identifying the building by the permitted name.
  4. Alternative treatment centers shall not advertise the price of marijuana, except that:
    1. An ATC can provide a catalogue or a printed list of the prices and strains of medicinal marijuana available at the alternative treatment center to registered qualifying patients and primary caregivers.
  5. Marijuana and paraphernalia shall not be displayed or clearly visible to a person from the exterior of an alternative treatment center.
  6. Alternative treatment centers shall not produce any items for sale or promotional gifts, such as T-shirts or novelty items, bearing a symbol or references to marijuana. This prohibition shall not pertain to paraphernalia sold to registered qualifying patients or their primary caregivers.

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