Atlantic County Cannabis – Is It Legal & Where To Buy 2024

  1. New Jersey Cannabis
  2. Atlantic Cannabis Overview

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Atlantic County?

Yes, cannabis cultivation is legal in Atlantic County but has limitations in certain municipalities.

Medical cannabis was legalized by virtue of New Jersey’s Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) of 2010 which was extended by the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act of 2019. On February 22, 2021, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act further legalized marijuana for the recreational use of adults aged 21 and older. During the vote on CREAMM, 86,176 residents of Atlantic County approved of it while 38,430 voted no.

The CREAMM allowed municipalities to craft local laws regarding marijuana businesses within their territories and gave them until August 21, 2021, to decide whether to opt in or opt out of allowing cannabis businesses in their territories. According to the CRC, however, municipalities can decide to opt in at any time after opting out.

Of the 23 municipal governments of Atlantic County, 14 opted out of having any cannabis businesses, including cannabis cultivation, within their areas. These municipalities are Brigantine, Buena Vista, Corbin, Estell Manor, Folsom, Linwood, Longport, Margate, Mullica, Northfield, Port Republic, Somers Point, Ventnor, and Weymouth.

Six municipalities approved cannabis businesses, including retail and cultivation. These are Absecon, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton, and Pleasantville. One municipality approved only non-retail cannabis businesses, which means cultivators are allowed. This is in Galloway.

The municipality of Buena took no action on the matter. According to the CRC, that means all types of cannabis businesses will also be allowed, including cannabis cultivation.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) issues Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator licenses only in municipalities that opted into having cannabis cultivation businesses. Businesses must apply for such a license to be able to legally cultivate and harvest cannabis. They are authorized to sell their product only to fellow licensed cultivators as well as licensed cannabis manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. They are forbidden from selling directly to consumers.

According to CREAMM, licensed Class 1 Cannabis Cultivators are allowed to grow marijuana indoors or outdoors but they still need the approval of their municipality for outdoor cultivation.

Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license holders must heed the state’s standards on public health and safety. They must also comply with CRC regulations regarding the following:

  • High security for their facilities

  • The number of plants and the size of the cannabis canopy they can grow

  • Proper seed and plant propagation

  • Best practices in the cannabis industry

Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license holders are required to submit plant samples to a third-party testing facility licensed by the CRC upon the CRC’s request. Alternatively, the testing party may make surprise visits to the cultivation facility to take samples. Results are sent to the CRC.

The CRC additionally mandates that licensed cannabis cultivators precisely document the volume of cannabis flowers, young plants, and leaves they produce per production day. Additionally, they must correctly track how many cannabis flowers, young plants, and leaf ounces they sell and on what days.

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Atlantic County?

Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Atlantic County but is only allowed in Absecon, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton, Pleasantville, Galloway, and Buena.

Businesses must apply for a Class 1 Cannabis Manufacturer license from the CRC to manufacture cannabis products legally. The CRC will only issue such licenses in municipalities that approve the presence of cannabis manufacturing businesses.

Every licensed cannabis manufacturer must deliver product samples to a third-party testing facility that is CRC-licensed on a specified date The testing facility may also pay a random visit to the processing facility to collect samples for testing. The CRC must receive the test findings.

All marijuana products made by manufacturers must come in child-resistant opaque packaging with correct labels. The following details must appear on all labels:

  • The product’s net weight

  • The strain of cannabis used in the product

  • The license number of the cannabis cultivator from which the cannabis was purchased

  • The production batch and lot number of the cannabis used in the product

  • The growing method for the cannabis used in the product

  • All the non-organic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides that had been applied to the cannabis used in the product

  • The license number of the cannabis manufacturer

  • The production date of the cannabis product

  • The expiration date of the cannabis product

  • The active cannabis ingredients used in the product

  • All other added ingredients used in the product

  • Potential allergens in the cannabis product

  • The serving size of the cannabis product

  • The number of servings in the package

  • The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in each serving

  • The total THC content in the entire package

  • Instructions on the safe use of the product

  • Warnings on the dangers of misusing or overusing the product

  • Nationwide poison control centers’ toll-free telephone numbers

  • Instructions on proper storage of the product, including whether it needs refrigeration

Every cannabis product must carry at least one of the warnings specified by the CRC on its label.

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Atlantic County?

Cannabis retail is legal in Atlantic County but is only allowed in Absecon, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor City, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton, Pleasantville, and Buena.

Businesses must get Class 1 Cannabis Retailer licenses from the CRC in order to sell cannabis. However, only companies in areas that permit cannabis retail businesses within their borders will be granted this license.

Anyone over the age of 21 may purchase marijuana from businesses with a license to sell cannabis; a medical marijuana card is not necessary. Customers must instead provide a valid ID card that verifies their age while making a purchase. The authorized retailer is obligated to check the buyer's ID to confirm their age.

Licensed cannabis shops are authorized to sell cannabis and all cannabis products including edible cannabis goods. However, the only allowed edibles are chewable types, tablets, pills, capsules, and syrups. Not included are baked goods like cookies or brownies. In order to eliminate dangerous compounds, the CRC also restricts the permitted additives for vape cartridges. All cannabis items to be sold must be labeled with the name and license number of the dispensary.

Each licensed cannabis dispensary may have only one cannabis consumption area. This must either be inside the dispensary or within another enclosed structure on the dispensary’s grounds.

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Atlantic County?

Cannabis delivery is legal in Atlantic County. Municipalities are forbidden from banning the passing of cannabis deliveries through their areas or the delivery of cannabis to consumers residing in their territories even if they opted out of accepting cannabis businesses.

Holders of Class 1 Cannabis Retailer licenses are authorized to deliver cannabis purchased from them. Businesses may also apply for a Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license from the CRC to be able to make deliveries for retailers. Applications for the latter have not yet been opened, though.

Buyers do not need to have a medical marijuana card in order to purchase and receive cannabis delivery. However, they must be 21 or older to order cannabis for delivery and must provide identification to prove it. The licensed cannabis retailer must check the buyer's ID card to confirm their age before each sale. Prior to handing over the merchandise to the customer at delivery, the ID card must be verified once more.

Licensed cannabis retailers are permitted to deliver cannabis to the clients' current residences, whether the clients reside there permanently or temporarily. Delivery to homes located inside any federally owned property is prohibited. Licensed cannabis shops may charge a shipping fee, but it cannot be more than 10% of the order's pre-tax price.

The licensed cannabis retailer is required to keep a log of the following details for each cannabis delivery:

  • The delivery date and time

  • The cannabis item’s name

  • The cannabis item’s batch and lot number

  • The cannabis item’s tracking number

  • The amount of cannabis items delivered

  • The name, address, and signature of the buyer who is the delivery recipient

  • Confirmation of the photographic ID verification of the buyer

  • The name and Cannabis Business ID card number of the delivery personnel

Personnel from the licensed cannabis retail shop must have their Cannabis Business ID Card with them throughout every delivery. During transit, the cannabis product must be contained in a secured box. The licensed retailer is required to follow the delivery truck using GPS. When the delivery team gets to the destination, they must physically deliver the cannabis product and complete the ID card verification process with the buyer. It is prohibited to leave delivered cannabis in a container like a mailbox or dropbox.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Atlantic County

Residents of Atlantic County who have any of the following illnesses can apply for a medical marijuana card:

  • Anxiety

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

  • Cancer

  • Dysmenorrhea

  • Chronic pain

  • Glaucoma

  • Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity

  • Inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease

  • Migraine

  • Muscular dystrophy

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Opioid Use Disorder

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)

  • Positive Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

  • Seizure disorder, including epilepsy

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Tourette Syndrome

  • Terminal illness with less than 12 months prognosis

The diagnosis and certification of the patient must be done by a physician registered in the New Jersey Medical Cannabis Program (NJMCP). Patients can search for registered doctors online.

Upon providing the certification, the physician will likewise provide the patient with a reference number to be used to register a patient account online. For the application, the following are required:

  • A full-face frontal photo that was taken within the last 60 days

  • A government-issued ID with a photo

  • Additional proof of residency in New Jersey

  • The choice of an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC) or dispensary for purchasing medical cannabis

  • Payment of the $100 registration fee

The registration fee is only $20, though, for the following individuals:

  • Military Veterans

  • Senior Citizens

  • Medicare recipients

  • Recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • Recipients of NJ Medicaid

  • Recipients of NJ Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI)

  • Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Recipients of Social Security Disability (SSD)

An email will be sent to the patient after the submission of the online form. The email will indicate whether the application has been approved and will provide instructions on how to log in and pay the registration charge. The medical marijuana card will be received through the mail afterward.

Caregivers are needed by patients who are minors since they are not permitted to purchase medical marijuana even as cardholders. Some adult cardholders may also need caregiver assistance. Each patient can register a maximum of two caregivers in the NJMCP. The caregivers will also be sent their medical marijuana cards by mail.

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Atlantic County?

Recreational cannabis began selling by retail only on April 21, 2022, even if CREAMM passed into law in February 2021. Based on the CRC’s News and Events page data, first-day gross cannabis sales reached $1.9 million across 12 statewide licensed dispensaries.

Patients had also prepared themselves the day before to ensure that they would not run out of their medication. Hence, ATCs statewide sold 5,400 ounces of medical cannabis on April 20. From April 22 to 26, another 5,400 ounces were sold of medical cannabis.

Meanwhile, from April 21 up to June 30, sales of recreational cannabis, according to the CRC, reached $79,698,831. The state of New Jersey earned $219,482 in Social Equity Excise Fees from that, and a total of $4,649,202 in taxes.

A sales tax of 6.625% is imposed on recreational cannabis, according to the New Jersey Treasury’s Taxation publication on marijuana businesses. The sales tax on medical marijuana ended on July 1, 2022. Previously, it was also 6.625%, which was lowered from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 to 4%, and then again lowered from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022 to 2%.

In Atlantic County, municipalities that accept cannabis businesses can impose the following taxes on each cannabis business type:

  • 2% on each sale of a licensed cannabis cultivator

  • 2% on each sale of a licensed cannabis manufacturer

  • 2% on each sale of a licensed cannabis retailer

  • 1% on each sale of a licensed cannabis wholesaler

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Atlantic County

The first time medical cannabis was legalized in New Jersey, including Atlantic City, was in 2010 with CUMMA. Meanwhile, recreational cannabis sales only began in April 2022.

On the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office reports that in 2009, there was a single arrest for drug abuse violation and it was not related to marijuana. In 2021, the latest available data, there were no drug-related arrests. For DUI, there were no arrests in 2009 and one in 2021.

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