New Jersey is home to a medical marijuana program, but recreational use is currently prohibited even if the state voted in favor of legalization for adults over the age of 21 via constitutional amendment in November 2020. After months of negotiations, Governor Phil Murray (D) signed three bills to end prohibition and create a statewide adult-use cannabis market on February 22, 2021.
At present, possession of 50 g or less of flower marijuana or 5 g or less of THC concentrate may result in disorderly person charges, fines up to $1,000, and a term of incarceration of up to 6 months. Individuals found to be in possession of larger amounts may be charged with a crime and could face fines of up to $25,000. The maximum period of imprisonment for possession of more than 50 g of flower marijuana is 1.5 years, while the maximum for possession of more than 5 g of THC concentrate is 6 months.
Cultivation is a crime and punished severely:
• Less than 10 plants: Mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 3 years and up to 5 years; $25,000 fine.
• 10-50 plants: Mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 5 years and up to 10 years; $150,000 fine.
• More than 50 plants: Mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and up to 20 years; $300,000 fine.
The law prohibiting cultivation extends to those enrolled in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. There is no exception.
Patients may purchase up to 3 oz of marijuana per month at state-operated dispensaries. To enroll, patients must be recommended marijuana by an MD or DO in good standing and licensed to practice in the state of New Jersey with whom the patient has a bona-fide physician-patient relationship. Additionally, physicians must register with the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program. To register, follow the instructions found through the state’s portal here: https://njmmp.nj.gov/njmmp/jsp/physRegistration.jsp.
Physicians can recommend marijuana to patients with terminal illnesses, so long as the physician has determined that the patient has less than a year to live. Additionally, physicians can recommend marijuana for the following qualifying conditions:
• ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
• Chronic pain
• Crohn’s disease
• IBD (inflammatory bowel disorder)
• Multiple sclerosis
• Muscular dystrophy
• Opioid dependency
• PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
• Seizure disorders
• Spasticity disorders
• Tourette disorder
The state of New Jersey allows out-of-state patients to bring marijuana into the state, provided they have a valid card authorizing them to possess medical marijuana from another jurisdiction.
For more information, visit the website for the state’s Division of Medical Marijuana: https://www.nj.gov/health/medicalmarijuana/.