Even though marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug at a federal level, over 75% of the United States has enacted a program to allow the sale and distribution of cannabis. Left-leaning states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington paved the way for legalization after successful medical marijuana programs. Now it seems like every legislation session welcomes a new state to the cannabis community. After a hard-earned medical marijuana program, New Jersey joined the ranks of legalization.
Here’s everything you need to know about smoking weed in the Garden State.
Is Weed Legal in New Jersey? Straight to the point.
- Recreational THC: Yes
- Medical THC: Yes
- CBD: Yes
- Delta-8: Yes
Medical Weed Laws
The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) was passed in 2010 after advocates tirelessly pressed New Jersey lawmakers to allow for a medical marijuana program. CUMMA went into effect on January 18, 2011, and just one day later, Governor Chris Christie took office. Unfortunately, Gov. Christie immediately took action to complicate the new pro-marijuana act and added several restrictions that would severely limit the program.
New Jersey was the 14th state to legalize medical marijuana but launched with stringent regulations. CUMMA was supposed to launch its new program within six months, but because of the harsh barriers imposed by Governor Christie, it wasn’t until August 2012 that patients could become registered. The very first medical marijuana treatment center opened in December of the same year, nearly two years after voters legalized it.
To apply for a medical marijuana card in New Jersey, patients must first visit a practitioner that is registered with the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program (NJMMP). The practitioner will assign a patient reference number for the application, and upon approval, patients can shop at an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC).
Qualifying medical conditions include:
- Addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer (includes associated chronic pain and nausea)
- Chronic pain
- Chronic visceral pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Opioid dependency
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures and/or spasticity disorders
- Tourette’s Syndrome
- Any terminal illness when a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year.
Currently, New Jersey allows patients 18 and older to shop at one of 23 approved ATCs. Patients are not allowed to cultivate marijuana at home but can possess up to three ounces per month. In addition, New Jersey allows reciprocity, meaning out-of-state medical marijuana patients can bring their legal marijuana into New Jersey.
Recreational Weed Laws
New Jersey fought to legalize for many years before a referendum on legalization was placed on the 2020 ballot. It passed the same year with 67% voter approval. In January 2021, New Jersey added an amendment to legalize adult-use marijuana to their state constitution, and by February, Governor Phil Murphy signed it into law.
New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act allows for the sale and distribution of cannabis to adults over 21. Recreational dispensaries were intended to launch in February 2022, but New Jersey has missed their deadline as of this writing. Reportedly, eight companies have applied for permission to launch recreational sales and are in the application process with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC).
Although program details are subject to fluctuation, it is anticipated that adults will be allowed to purchase and possess up to six ounces of marijuana. Currently, no home growing is allowed, but Gov. Murphy remains “open-minded” about the possibility of policy adjustments.
Is Weed Decriminalized in New Jersey?
Gov. Murphy signed three bills into law that effectively decriminalized weed in New Jersey.
Cannabinoid Variants FAQ
Although hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, they have very different rules and regulations regarding production, sale, and distribution. For example, a CBD product made from marijuana is only legal in states with a governed medical marijuana or adult-use program and sold in a licensed dispensary. However, a CBD product made from hemp is sellable just about anywhere.
What about the other cannabinoids? See below for New Jersey’s laws surrounding cannabinoid variants.
Is CBD legal in New Jersey?
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products.
The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution.
Is Delta-8 legal in New Jersey?
New Jersey has adopted hemp legalization, including all of its derivatives. Delta-8 THC is a minor cannabinoid found in very minimal amounts in cannabis plants. To obtain a significant amount usable for vape pens, edibles, and other infused products, Delta-8 must be extracted from CBD through isomerization.
If the Delta-8 is created from hemp-derived CBD, it is legal for production, use, and sale in New Jersey as long as it contains less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. You must be 18 and over to buy.
Is Delta-10 legal in New Jersey?
Delta-10 is very similar to Delta-8 because it must be produced in a lab to obtain substantial amounts used for vape pens, gummies, tinctures, and other products. Its effects are often likened to a sativa, whereas Delta-8 tends to behave more like a classic indica.
Since Delta-10 is often derived from hemp-based CBD, it is legal in New Jersey for adults over 18. In addition, the same potency rules apply as directed by the Farm Bill.
Is THC-O legal in New Jersey?
In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers.
For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.
Is HHC legal in New Jersey?
HHC is another lab-produced cannabinoid originating from hemp. Although many people claim that HHC is present in small quantities in cannabis plants, no scientific studies validate this claim. The manufacturing process remains proprietary to the companies producing it, but we know that it involves a series of extractions like THC-O or Delta-10.
HHC is compared to Delta-8 in effect, and because it is derived from hemp-based CBD, it is legal for sale to adults in New Jersey. The same rules apply—any HHC product must contain less than 0.3% THC and is available to adults over 18.
Is HHC-O legal in New Jersey?
HHC-O is the result of further processing of its parent HHC. The additional synthesis adds potency to the originating HHC, and many people claim that HHC-O is as close as one can get to Delta-9 THC. Although the effects are more potent, HHC-O is still not as psychoactive as marijuana.
Because it is made from hemp, HHC-O is legal for sale and consumption for adults over 18 in New Jersey and must abide by all rules as outlined by the Farm Bill.
Currently, neither patients nor adults are allowed to cultivate cannabis at home. To become a licensed cannabis grower in New Jersey, applicants can begin the process by applying online. Cultivator licensing fees range from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the growth tier. The CRC has currently approved 60 cultivation licenses.
Find the complete application guide here.
Where to Buy Weed in New Jersey
Cannabis enthusiasts in New Jersey rejoice as their state opens up more and more avenues to source weed, edibles, extracts, and other cannabis-infused goodies. Here’s where to find them.
There are currently 23 operational ATCs for medical marijuana patients in New Jersey. Application processes are underway for recreational weed retailers, but none are open as of this writing.
New Jersey does allow for cannabis delivery from ATCs to medical marijuana patients. Adults over 21 can also have cannabis goods delivered, though this is a gray area of the law. Technically, the sale and delivery of recreational marijuana are not yet entirely legal, but adults may still possess up to six ounces. Creative cannabis companies have found a workaround for this law.
For example, you may order merchandise like clothing or even food from an online store and then choose a “free gift” like cannabis-infused brownies to be delivered with your order. So instead of paying for the cannabis goods, they are gifted to you by the company. It’s unlikely that this practice will have longevity once recreational sales open up in brick and mortar locations, but for now, adults can receive weed delivery in exchange for donations.
Direct to Consumer
Direct to consumer sales bypass the dispensary so patients can purchase directly from the companies that produce cannabis products. At this time, New Jersey does not allow medical cardholders to buy outside of dispensaries. However, this may be a consideration for New Jersey after successfully launching the recreational program.
Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.
Where can you smoke weed in New Jersey?
Adults over 21 are allowed to smoke weed on private property. In New Jersey, private property includes your own home and street if inside of a gated community. It also includes apartment complexes (with landlord approval) and adjacent parking lots and garages.
Can you smoke weed in public in New Jersey?
No, you cannot smoke weed in public in New Jersey. Public parks, beaches, and other community locations do not allow the public consumption of any kind of marijuana.
When was weed legalized in New Jersey?
New Jersey voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2020 and recreational marijuana in 2020. oy
Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ
What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?
Distribution under one ounce of weed is not punishable if it is the first offense. For a second offense, distribution is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $25,000. It is legal to give up to one ounce of marijuana without exchange of money for adults over 21.
Read more about New Jersey penalties here.
What is the penalty for selling to a minor?
Selling cannabis to minors and pregnant women is a felony and will result in double the term of imprisonment and double the fines.
What is possession with the intent to sell?
Possession with intent to distribute means that a person is in possession of more weed than one would personally consume. This is an indication that the person plans to sell this abundance of marijuana on the black market. It is a severe offense with legal consequences.
When is possession still a crime?
Possession of marijuana is a crime if the amount is over legal limits, the person is underage, or is charged with possession with the intent to distribute.