Updated August 2019
The state of New Jersey has been in the middle of a push toward major cannabis reform and has recently expanded its medical marijuana laws in an effort to serve more patients. Lawmakers, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, are working toward introducing legislation to legalize, or at least decriminalize, adult use cannabis. Learn more about New Jersey marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in New Jersey
Is marijuana legal in New Jersey? No — recreational marijuana remains illegal. The possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana in the state is considered a disorderly person offense, which can carry a sentence of 6 months in prison and a fine up to $1,000. Possession of greater amounts is a crime in the 4th degree, which can be punished by as much as 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
New Jersey has several times come close to legalizing recreational marijuana. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has made recreational marijuana legalization a central focus, both while campaigning and since taking office in 2018. State lawmakers came close to approving a marijuana legalization bill in 2018 and 2019, but negotiations fell through. New Jersey’s Senate President Steve Sweeney announced in May 2019 that the Legislature will instead seek to put recreational marijuana on the ballot in 2020 for voters to decide.
Medical Marijuana in New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers legalized medical marijuana in 2010 by passing of Senate Bill 119, but the program was criticized for its slow development of medical marijuana access. Patient registration opened in 2012, but a relatively limited list of qualifying conditions and a lack of operational dispensaries initially hindered the program.
Under New Jersey’s medical marijuana law, patients registered in the program may purchase and possess up to 3 oz. of marijuana per month, but cannot cultivate it themselves. There is no purchase limit for those diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Patients under the age of 18 that suffer from an approved debilitating medical condition are allowed to register for the state’s medical marijuana program. In 2015, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that allows qualified minor patients to consume their medicine while on school grounds.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana has significantly expanded since its launch. In September 2016, Gov. Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 457 to expand the law to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a debilitating medical condition for which medical marijuana may be authorized. Since taking office in 2018, Gov. Murphy has brought dramatic changes to the program, including signing the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act into law and adding new qualifying conditions like opioid addiction.
As of today, patients with the following conditions qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Chronic Pain
- Chronic Pain Related to Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Chronic Visceral Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Menstrual Cramps
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Opioid Addiction
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure and/or Spasticity Disorders
- Tourette Syndrome
- Any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year
CBD from Hemp Oil in New Jersey
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in New Jersey
The cultivation of marijuana in New Jersey for personal or medical purposes is illegal in New Jersey. Growing less than 10 plants is punishable by three to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
In August 2019, Gov. Murphy signed into law a bill that allows for the commercial cultivation and production of hemp. Previously, in November 2018, Murphy had signed a bill that allows the research and cultivation of hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program.
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