The state of New Jersey has been in the middle of a period of cannabis reform and has recently expanded its medical marijuana laws in an effort to serve more patients. Lawmakers, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, 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. In March 2017, Gov. Phil Murphy expanded the state’s medical marijuana program to include 5 additional qualifying conditions.
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)
- Chronic Pain Related to Musculoskeletal Disorders
- Chronic Visceral Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Seizure and/or Spasticity Disorders
- Tourette Syndrome
- Any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year
CBD from Hemp Oil in New Jersey
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
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.
In November 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that allows the research and cultivation of hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program. The law establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, and selling hemp in the state.
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