The state of New Jersey has been in the middle of a period of cannabis reform, despite having a relatively unsupportive governor. The state has recently expanded its medical marijuana laws and lawmakers are working toward introducing legislation to legalize, or at least decriminalize, adult use cannabis.
Recreational Marijuana in New Jersey
Recreational marijuana remains illegal in New Jersey. Possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana in the state is considered a disorderly person offense, which can carry a sentence of 6 months in prison and a fine up to $1,000. Possession of greater amounts is a crime in the 4th degree, which can be punished by as much as 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Bills to tax and regulate marijuana were introduced in the New Jersey Assembly by lawmakers in 2016, but Gov. Christie has said he would veto any attempt to legalize recreational marijuana.
Medical Marijuana in New Jersey
New Jersey lawmakers legalized medical marijuana in 2010 by passing of Senate Bill 119, but the program has been criticized for its slow development of medical marijuana access. Patient registration opened in 2012, but a relatively limited list of qualifying conditions and a lack of operational dispensaries have hindered the program.
Patients in the program may possess up to 2 oz. of marijuana per month, but cannot cultivate it themselves.
Patients under the age of 18 that suffer from an approved debilitating medical condition are allowed to register for the state’s medical marijuana program. In 2015, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that allows qualified minor patients to consume their medicine while on school grounds.
In September 2016, Gov. Christie signed Assembly Bill No. 457 to expand the law to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a debilitating medical condition for which medical marijuana may be authorized.
As of today, patients with the following conditions qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Cancer (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Crohn’s Disease
- HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Seizure and/or Spasticity Disorders
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year
CBD from Hemp Oil in New Jersey
Consumption of cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil is federally legal, as CBD hemp oil falls under the same importation and commerce laws as other hemp products. New Jersey has no further laws in place specifically related to CBD from hemp oil, so it is legal to purchase and consume.
Cultivation of Cannabis in New Jersey
The cultivation of marijuana in New Jersey for personal or medical purposes is illegal in New Jersey. Growing less than 10 plants is punishable by three to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
New Jersey has yet to pass industrial hemp cultivation laws, so growing hemp also remains illegal.
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