March 3, 2021

A Look at New Jersey’s Recent Recreational Marijuana Legislation

March 3, 2021
A picture of a New Jersey flag over a cannabis plant background—the state has recently legalized recreational marijuana.

Dem. Governor Phil Murphy has just this Monday signed legislation to decriminalize marijuana and establish a recreational marijuana industry in New Jersey. Voters last November supported the change in a 2-to-1 majority, joining many states in the Northwest that have full recreational programs.

Although this has been major progress in cannabis legalization, there are still a lot of issues up in the air for New Jerseyans. 

In New Jersey, residents must be 21 years or older to ingest marijuana. Additionally, consequences for being caught possessing or under the influence while under the legal age are as follows:

  1. Written warning
  2. Written warning delivered by officer, drug treatment literature provided
  3. Written warning, drug treatment referral, and parents notified

Citizens can legally possess up to 6 ounces (170 grams) or ⅗ ounces of hashish (17 grams). Also, it is legal to have possession of those substances and paraphernalia in vehicles, as long as you are not under the influence while driving. It is also no longer against the law to be under the influence; just be sure to have a designated driver.

When Will Recreational Cannabis Be Available to Purchase in New Jersey?

Although legislation has been signed by the Governor, state officials are estimating there will be at least a six month delay before sales in the state are up and running. The newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission will have its hands full with granting licenses and inspecting facilities before initial growth and dispensary can begin.

Although state advocates pushed for citizens to be able to grow their own, this was rejected and is not legal. New Jerseyans will have to visit dispensaries to purchase legal marijuana. The details for how to access and where to find them is expected to be released by the commission in the next six months.

Will My Previous Marijuana Charges Still Apply to Me?

The short answer is no. The governor signed a bill ushering in decriminalization, which means that anyone with pending charges, previous convictions, and pleas will have their records voided. Likewise, citizens who owe fees, serving sentences, or facing convictions will find a reprieve.

What is Still Illegal in New Jersey?

Although the state has made it legal to have possession, and to be under the influence of pot, there are still a few things off limits. Other than being under age, growing your own, or driving under the influence, laws are in place to ensure that the amount of possession is not too high and that distribution to others is not happening. 

Having more than 6 ounces can result in a jail sentence of up to 18 months; while distribution has a much heavier consequence. Distributing more than six ounces-one pound is a third-degree offense, five pounds is a second-degree offense, and possession of more than 25 pounds can earn you a first-degree criminal charge.

If you are charged with a small amount of marijuana sales (considered one ounce or less), you will receive a written warning, and a second offense will earn you a trip to court for a fourth degree crime.

Additional Resources:

At The Weed Blog, we strive to produce the latest online news resources regarding marijuana. We also review various strains of cannabis or other edible counterparts. We are committed to helping you find valuable information about marijuana on our website. With marijuana laws constantly changing, learn from us what you can do to promote activism in your area. Otherwise, consider these other top-tier articles regarding cannabis tax revenue:

States Ranked by Recreational Marijuana Tax Revenue

Crime Is Down and Tax Revenue Is up in Denver after Cannabis Legalization

Marijuana Tax Revenue Surpasses Alcohol Tax Revenue in Colorado


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