What Cannabis Legalization Means for New Jersey

In the historic 2020 general election, New Jersey voters cast their ballots overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use in their state. The state scrambled to put their votes into practice, debating provisions in the state senate and house for months.   

After much back and forth, Governor Murphy signed three bills into laws earlier this year and made it official: New Jersey’s law has legalized much of recreational cannabis use for adults 21 and over and decriminalized much of the penalties for illegal use. 

When Does NJ’s Cannabis Industry Launch? 

Technically, buying and selling cannabis is still illegal in New Jersey. This was an intentional addition, meant to give the newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission time to create laws and regulations to govern the industry.  

Basically, they need to determine who can buy what, and from where before sales can begin.  

Medical dispensaries are the obvious first choice to start cannabis sales (mainly because it’s the easiest), but even there, new rules will determine how recreational sales is incorporated into their existing business structure. 

As is typical in other states, the red tape and administration of the new industry will take some time. Experts are estimating it could take up to two years for adults to be able to walk into a dispensary and buy recreational cannabis.  

What’s LegalWhat’s Not
Property owners and your boss can refuse your right to consume cannabis on their property. Your job controlling cannabis consumption during off-work hours. 
Possessing up to 6 ounces of marijuana at a time if you’re an adult aged 21 yrs or over. Growing cannabis for personal use. This is only for professional cultivators now. 
Selling up to 1 ounce from state-regulated stores (notice the difference between possession and sales). Starting a cannabis business without one of the state’s licenses (which are reported to be extremely limited). 
Cannabis consumption while on probation or parole. Police searches based on smelling marijuana are no longer legal under the new law. 

NJ Cannabis Resources 

If you’re interested in starting a recreational cannabis business in New Jersey or want to learn more about it, these government and business resources will provide more information. 

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