is weed legal in new jersey

Is Weed Legal in New Jersey? Plus New Jersey Weed Laws & New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Efforts in 2024

is weed legal in new jersey


Yes, marijuana is currently legal both medically and recreationally in New Jersey. This means that it is legally available for purchase by patients with qualifying conditions registered with the New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Program (NJMCP) if they have a valid medical cannabis program identification card.

Recreationally, it’s legally available to any adults 21 and over and can be purchased from a recreationally-licensed dispensary.

The cannabis business is booming in the Garden State and is on track to reach $1 billion dollars in sales in 2024. New Jersey’s cannabis legislation, program, and industry are all outshining its neighbor New York which is struggling to address some logistical snafus. While New Jersey is rolling out financially successful dispensaries, New York has been struggling to shut down the excessive number of illegal pot shops that cropped up after legalization. As New York addresses these issues its recreational business sales are not close to reaching the same level of financial success as New Jersey. Score one for the Garden State.

This post will explore cannabis law in New Jersey, how it works, the state’s medical marijuana program and all of the in-depth details you need to know to purchase and use cannabis legally in New Jersey.

Before we dive deep let’s explore how cannabis laws work in the US.


How Do Cannabis Laws Work?

Federally, marijuana is still illegal but the government has put the power to decide the legal status of cannabis in each individual state’s hands. United States cannabis legalization has 3 different “levels” or legal possibilities of becoming legal.

Additionally, states will often establish legislation in this general order:

  • Decriminalization is often the first step. This doesn’t legalize cannabis but instead reduces, and in some cases eliminates, the criminal charges related to marijuana possession. Cannabis possession has often been considered a felony (possession over a controlled substance).

Decriminalization doesn’t legalize cannabis but instead makes it less illegal. Cannabis possession has had heavy charges and in some cases it was excessively racially biased with unfair incarceration rates. Cannabis laws have been changed to address these concerns. This post covers the key differences between decriminalization and legalization.

  • Medical Marijuana Legalization makes cannabis medically available to patients with a prescription. The government decides on the state level which medical conditions can be approved for a cannabis prescription. The state also establishes the logistics for how the medical program will function. It’s important to note, in some states, smoking weed or edibles may still remain illegal in state law.
  • Recreational Marijuana Legalization fully legalizes cannabis throughout the state for adults 21 and over. There can still be limits for how much cannabis a person can obtain, carry, and purchase but it is essentially legal.

There are bureaucratic regulations and logistics that must be met for dispensaries to be able to sell medical or recreational cannabis. Delays in cannabis sales can often be caused by problems with the bureaucracy in the background. Red tape and legal changes must be addressed before a state can begin legal cannabis sales.


nj dispensary


When Did NJ Legalize Weed?

In November 2020, New Jersey voters approved a ballot measure, New Jersey Public Question 1, a.k.a.the Constitutional Amendment To Legalize Marijuana to amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana for recreational use by adults 21 and older.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act went into effect in February 2021, legalizing and regulating recreational cannabis.As of April 2022, adults 21 and over can legally purchase and possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis from licensed retailers and dispensaries across the state.

As for medical marijuana, back on January 18, 2010, outgoing governor Jon Corzine signed a number of bills into law including S. 119, a.k.a. the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA), which established the use of medical cannabis for persons with certain conditions.

Let’s briefly explore New Jersey’s specific marijuana laws to understand the path to legalization in the state.


New Jersey Marijuana Laws

In 2010, New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize medical cannabis. Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Marijuana Act into law. This established the loose framework for the medical marijuana program.

In 2011, the New Jersey Department of Health adopted the rules for the medical marijuana program outlining important logistics including patient certification by a licensed physician, where specifically residents could purchase medical marijuana and the licensing process for distributors, dispensaries and cultivators.

In December 2012, New Jersey opened its first Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) for registered patients to legally obtain their medical cannabis.

In 2013 Governor Chris Christie signed Senate Bill 2842 into law. The bill amended the existing medical marijuana legislation. It removed the limit on the number of cannabis cultivars or strains for cultivation businesses. The bill also approved the manufacture of edible cannabis for minors only.

Edibles can be a contentious issue for states because many legislators don’t want young people consuming marijuana accidentally or intentionally. Currently, there are limits to edibles in New Jersey. We’ll elaborate about this further in a later section.

In 2016, New Jersey’s state legislature passed AB 457 which also expanded medical marijuana legislation. This bill added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a qualifying medical condition. The Department of Health also established a panel of health professionals and gave them the power to add more medical conditions to the approved list of conditions for medical marijuana.

The list of medical conditions is what regulates who can have medical marijuana. Some states are super open about what can be treated with cannabis while some states have a fixed list of conditions.

Despite being legal medically, marijuana arrests remained fairly high in New Jersey and even jumped 10 percent in 2012 and 2013. 24,765 arrests were made for possession of small amounts of marijuana. That’s nearly double the amount of arrests in 1993. When did the tide turn towards legalization in New Jersey?


recreational dispensary new jersey


New Jersey Weed Legalization

The path to recreational cannabis legalization in New Jersey was long and nuanced. Due to conflicting ideologies and issues over the letter of the law kept cannabis’s legal status in contention for years. Here are some of the laws leading up to the inevitable legalization in New Jersey.

In 2017, Democratic Senate Judiciary Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari introduced a bill that would not just legalize recreational cannabis but establish taxes and restructure the enforcement of cannabis. However, Governor Chris Christie was in strong opposition and threatened to veto any bill while he was in office.

When Christie left office in 2018, Bill 3468 was introduced to decriminalize personal use and the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana. There were a string of different attempts to legalize cannabis.

In 2019 S-2703 a.k.a. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act attempted to legalize personal use cannabis for adults. It would create a Cannabis Regulatory Commission to regulate personal use and medical cannabis and establish expungement for certain past marijuana offenses.

Also in 2019, Governor Murphy signed legislation to expand the New Jersey medical marijuana program. This legislation removed the limit for terminally ill patients and increased the monthly limit for patients to 3 ounces within an 18 months period. The act also approved edible cannabis for adult patients.

In 2020, The New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed bills A21 and S21, the Marketplace Modernization Act, and the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance Act. The bills’ goals were to legalize adult-use cannabis, decriminalize simple possession of marijuana and hashish, and provide the legal framework for recreational cannabis use in New Jersey.

In 2021, Bill A1897 was signed into law which officially legalized cannabis use and possession for persons 21 and older. Also, it decriminalizes the possession of hashish. Bill S3454 also came into effect in 2021. The bill addressed underage possession and consumption, including the legal consequences for those activities.

In 2022, legal sales of recreational marijuana began. Senate Bill 353 legalized the cultivation of six marijuana plants for recreational use and ten plants for persons with a qualifying medical condition.

The pathway to legalization can take time. Delays are often caused by issues with specific language in the legislation. For example, there were many conflicting cannabis laws during the 2018-2019 period and debates over sales tax also played into the delay of legalization.


New Jersey Cannabis Laws 2024

Despite legalization, there are still some changes on the docket. Here’s some upcoming legislation from the New Jersey government that focuses on changes to the marijuana market in the Garden State.

  • S1985, if passed would legalize the growing or possession of up to six marijuana plants for personal recreational use, and up to 10 plants for personal medical use, by adults aged 21 or older.
  • A414 legalizes possession of six or fewer marijuana plants.
  • S1393/A846 authorizes home cultivation of medical cannabis.
  • S2286 Permits the governor to authorize interstate commercial cannabis activity in certain circumstances. (based on earlier introduced legislation)
  • A901 Protects financial institutions and insurers doing business within the cannabis industry from being penalized by state regulators. (based on earlier introduced legislation)
  • S1126 Establishes a state bank for the handling of marijuana-related funds.
  • S1955/A453 Creates protections for insurers and insurance producers working with cannabis-related businesses.
  • A1609 Establishes protection from adverse employment action for authorized medical cannabis patients.
  • A2719 Provides employer and employee protections pursuant to the use of legalized cannabis items. This would establish employers cannot penalize workers based solely on positive drug tests for cannabis metabolites.
  • S677 Permits employers to prohibit use of cannabis by certain employees.
  • A2798 Permits law enforcement agencies to prohibit recreational use of cannabis items by law enforcement officers.
  • S1943 Requires workers’ compensation, personal injury protection and health insurance coverage for the medical use of cannabis under certain circumstances.
  • A898 Establishes a program to subsidize purchase price of medical cannabis for registered qualifying patients enrolled in Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare programs.
  • S1944 Allows costs of medical cannabis to be reimbursed by Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, PAAD, Senior Gold and VCCO.
  • ACR76 Proposes constitutional amendment to dedicate tax revenue from legal sale of recreational marijuana for mental health, addiction recovery and drug rehabilitation services.
  • A1105 Would make medical marijuana exempt from sales and use tax.
  • A2879 Establishes THC potency limits for cannabis products.

Cannabis can be a cash cow and a contentious issue. Time will tell what the full suite of changes that may affect New Jersey’s budding cannabis industry but it’s important for residents to keep their eye on legal changes and ensure they’re supporting the regulations that they support before they get passed into law.


new jersey dispensaries


How Much Weed Is Legal In NJ?

Currently, the legal limit for legal cannabis possession in New Jersey is Up to 6 ounces (170 grams) of usable cannabis. Possession of more can put you at risk of breaking the law.

There are also caps for how much one can purchase in one transaction. In each transaction, dispensaries are allowed to sell up to the equivalent of 28.35 grams or 1 ounce of usable cannabis. That means up to:

  • 28.35 grams (1 ounce) of dried flower, or
  • 4 grams of solid cannabis concentrates or resin, or the equivalent of 4 grams of concentrate in liquid form (solution in milliliters), or
  • 4 grams of vaporized formulations (oil), or
  • 1000 mg of multiple ingestible cannabis-infused products (10 100 mg packages) like gummies


How Much Weed Can You Carry In NJ?

Again, the legal cap for possession is 6 ounces of cannabis. Registered medical marijuana patients may purchase up to 3 ounces of medicinal cannabis/cannabis products from an alternative treatment center every 30 days.

Recreational users can purchase up to the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis.


Can You Grow Weed In NJ?

Currently, you cannot legally grow weed without a cannabis cultivator’s license. The penalties are fairly severe as violators can face up to a $300,000 fine and 20 years in prison. Again, there are some laws on the books for 2024 that could change this so only time will tell if it becomes legal for medical patients and/or legal adults to grow weed at home.


Can Pennsylvania Residents Buy Pot In NJ?

Given the recreational laws in New Jersey, any adult that’s 21 and over in New Jersey can legally purchase cannabis. However, it’s important to note that the transportation of cannabis across state lines can open you up to larger legal issues and is illegal.


Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card Online Today

Join over 100,000 patients who have chosen Green Health Docs as their medical cannabis doctors. We have a 99% approval rate and offer a 100% money back guarantee!



Where To Buy Legal Weed In NJ?

Cannabis is legal in New Jersey but where can you get it? There’s a full list of recreational dispensaries in New Jersey as well as the full list of medical marijuana dispensaries on the state’s website. That list will allow you to search for nearby medical or recreational dispensaries as well as helpful information about each location.


Can You Smoke Weed In Public In New Jersey?

There are limitations to where you can smoke cannabis in New Jersey. Smoking or using cannabis in public places is prohibited. Recreational cannabis can only be consumed in a private residency and it is at the discretion of the residence holder if cannabis can be smoked there.

Smoking or vaping cannabis is also prohibited anywhere that tobacco is prohibited as well as any venues outlined in the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act.


Are THC Gummies Legal In New Jersey?

Edibles are legal in New Jersey, but when they were first legalized they were highly regulated and certain forms of edibles were and remain restricted. The law outlined “ingestible products” vs. food items meaning that THC edibles were available “in syrup, pill, tablet, capsule and chewable forms.”

New Jersey law wanted to limit the exposure of food items to children who might inadvertently consume candy or sweets and accidentally ingest cannabis.

The law officially states, “No ingestible product shall be in the shape of, or a shape bearing the likeness or containing characteristics of, a realistic or fictional human, animal, or fruit, or part thereof, including artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.”

That being said there are some dispensaries that carry THC gummies but there is still contention over them being readily available everywhere.


marijuanas legalized in nj


What Medical Conditions Are Approved for Medical Marijuana in New Jersey?

Currently, the medical conditions that are eligible for a medical marijuana prescription are the following:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Intractable Skeletal Muscular Spasticity
  • Migraine
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • Positive Status For Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) And Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure Disorder, Including Epilepsy
  • Terminal Illness With Prognosis Of Less Than 12 Months To Live
  • Tourette Syndrome


How To Get A Medical Cannabis Card In New Jersey?

Obtaining your medical marijuana card is simple and straightforward. You can use Green Health Docs to locate a participating doctor.

From that doctor you’ll receive an Authorizing Provider Statement from your healthcare provider and a reference ID number and a registry ID number to set up an account to complete your application.

You select an Alternative Treatment Center a.k.a. Medical dispensary where you will be able to purchase your medicinal cannabis.

To set up your online account you will need:

  • Proof of New Jersey residency
    • A current New Jersey government-issued ID or two proofs of residency. Proof of residency options include:
      • a utility or cell phone bill from the last 90 days
      • a W-2, 1099 Statement, Form 1098, or other correspondence from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the New Jersey Division of Taxation from the last year that shows patient’s name and address (We do not accept a Form 1040 or Form 1095)
      • Property tax bill, jury summons, Social Security Administration documents, or other federal, state, or local government correspondence issued in the last 90 days that shows patient’s name and address
      • last three monthly bank statements showing the patient’s name and address
      • last three consecutive pay stubs
      • an official deed
  • A recent full-face, front facing photograph
    • taken within the last 60 days without any filters
    • against a plain, white background
    • without a hat, or glasses
    • with eyes open and a neutral facial expression

With that information you can request an ID card. Digital ID cards are free, but physical cards do require a $10 payment. Digital and physical ID cards are valid for two years.


nj weed laws


Final Thoughts

New Jersey has made cannabis legal both for medical patients and for residents. This is a great boon to the local economy and does mean that more people have legal access to cannabis. Now the question arises, do you need medical marijuana or would you be fine with just recreational use?

If you’d like to get your medical marijuana card let Green Health Docs make the process simple for you. Cannabis has countless medical benefits and can be a great way to manage anything from pain to anxiety. Learning your legal rights is important to understanding if cannabis is right for you.

Luckily, you can obtain cannabis legally in the Garden State and find a doctor and dispensary that are right for you.

Dr. Anand DugarThis article has been reviewed by Dr. Anand Dugar, an anesthesiologist, pain medicine physician and the founder of Green Health Docs. Graduating from medical school in 2004 and residency in 2008, Dr. Dugar has been a licensed physician for almost 20 years and has been leading the push for medical cannabis nationwide.