Marijuana legalization in New Jersey


In last year’s election, over two-thirds of New Jerseyans voted to approve marijuana legalization. But there were a few issues regarding what qualifies for a medical card in NJ and who should be penalized. Sadly, the public approved the legalization of marijuana did not stop law enforcement authorities from busting local marijuana activists and enthusiasts. 

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Recently, the officers pulled over Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion, a local cannabis activist, while driving his SUV. He was charged with marijuana possession. This is not an isolated case. In January alone, more than 2000 people were charged for having less than 50 grams of cannabis. 

Sensing the impatience of New Jerseyans, Gov. Phil Murphy reaffirmed his commitment to passing a set of laws to address historically unjust approaches to marijuana regulation. As of mid-February, most of these issues had been sorted out. Residents of the Garden State can now use marijuana. This provision is now part of the New Jersey Constitution. Perhaps more interesting to some people is that the New Jersey decriminalization bill allows possession of not more than six ounces of recreational marijuana. 


NJ Weed Legalization: When Does Marijuana Legalization Start in NJ?

With the statewide ballot approval of recreational marijuana use, many residents expected the law to take effect in January 2021 as planned. However, it wasn’t the case until the approval of three new laws last month. 

As of February 22, the New Jersey decriminalization bill paved the way for the use of marijuana by residents aged 21 years and above. This came as a relief to many New Jerseyans, who have had to deal with several failed bids to approve recreational marijuana. Before this, many people were wondering: Will marijuana ever be legal in NJ? This is behind us now, but there is still the issue of penalties and police harassment. Besides this, there are several aspects of the law that New Jerseans must follow.


new jersey marijuana legalization

Benefits of a Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey


New Jersey Decriminalization Bill

The new marijuana legalization comes with a clear framework for regulating cannabis use. While the bill is centered around community outreach, it has several strict stipulations in place. For instance, past cannabis convicts may be limited. On the positive side, state residents who were initially subject to an arrest for marijuana possession can now seek relief.

Here are some key highlights of the new marijuana legalization bill. 

Besides legalizing marijuana for New Jerseyans 21 and above, the bill also loosens the penalties for minors found with cannabis. The new marijuana legalization restricted towns from enacting ordinance for fines or civil penalties to underage possession. Now, minors will only get a written warning for possession of marijuana. Repeated offense will result in a parental notification, among other escalated responses. 

As for adults, previous low-level cannabis offenses are no longer allowed to be used in some judicial matters. Initially, low-level possession and distribution offenses lead to discrimination in housing. They were being used in probation, pretrial release, and parole decisions.  

Are Edibles Legal in New Jersey?

Like most states where marijuana is legal, edibles are allowed in New Jersey. But it can also depend on the situation. Technically speaking, edibles should not be packaged in shapes that appeal to children. Besides this, the New Jersey law caps the total dose per 100mg THC. In fact, a single serving should be divided into 10mg THC parts. These serving sizes try to make it clear how edibles are sold to the public. 

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What Qualifies for a Medical Card in NJ?

To qualify for an MMJ card in New Jersey, you should be a resident of the state. Apart from this, you must be at least 18. Just like other states, card applicants should first receive a recommendation from a licensed physician.

For this card, you should have any of these conditions: 

If you suspect that you suffer from any of the above conditions, you can see a doctor who will provide a medical evaluation. This will allow you to fill the application form. During the application, you will need to provide a valid New Jersey ID, a passport-style photo, or your current utility bill statement. If your application is approved, you can buy medical marijuana as prescribed. The good thing with medical marijuana is that you can get them in any New Jersey dispensary.


Marijuana laws in NJ

NJ Marijuana Laws in 2021


The laws mentioned above are straightforward, but can you get a medical card while on probation in New Jersey? Well, it is not very straightforward. Most likely, you will be allowed to apply for the card, but it may limit you on how you will use marijuana. In some cases, you will need to ask your probation officer or the attorney who handled your case. 

When Will Recreational Dispensaries in New Jersey Open?

Legal sales of recreational marijuana will likely remain months away. The reason is that the new marijuana legalization provided a legal framework for the availability of recreational marijuana in stores and dispensaries. It stipulates that the first adult-use outlet should open after 6 months or 180 days after the law came into effect. So, we can say the first New Jersey Dispensary or store will open on August 27, 2021. But this is a loose approximation; it may take a little bit longer. 

You see, the regulatory body, Cannabis Regulatory Commission, needs to be established, paving the way for the administration of new rules. As you can imagine, setting up a heavily regulated framework to support public demand will take time. From here, the Commission will hand out licenses to New Jersey dispensaries. 

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Final Thoughts

The legalization of marijuana in NJ continues to attract a lot of attention. For obvious reasons, the state needs time to set up a framework for recreational use. While you may not get recreational marijuana in store at the moment in New Jersey, you still qualify for medical marijuana. If you guess or have determined that your ailment is covered under the state’s medical marijuana program, just contact MMJDoctor to help you get the card. 

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