New Jersey Marijuana Licensing >
The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey is authorized by four laws, including:
New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA)
CUMMA decriminalizes the possession of marijuana by qualifying patients, physicians, primary caregivers, alternative treatment centers, and other entities operating in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
No changes have been made to the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in 2021. The most recent amendments were made on July 2, 2019, when Governor Phil Murphy signed the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act (Assembly No. 20) to ensure job protections and new procedures for drug testing, among other changes. Some of these provisions are as follows:
Workplace Anti-discrimination Provisions : The amendment to the Act now clearly prohibits employers from discriminating against employees authorized to consume marijuana for health reasons. It guides against unfavorable employment actions performed against such employees due to their status as legal medical marijuana users. CUMMA provides that employers cannot deny employment to or terminate the employment of a registered qualifying patient. A registered qualifying patient is a person who has both been authorized by a health care provider for the medical use of cannabis and has registered with the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission. The Act allows an employer to prohibit the use and possession of marijuana within the workplace environment during or outside work hours. Although there is an anti-discrimination provision, an employer is not mandated to retain an employee or do anything that would cause the employer to violate federal law or lose federal funding or contract.
Drug-Testing Policies : The New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act has introduced a new policy to regulate drug testing by employers on their employees and job applicants. The drug test is redefined as a test done using scientifically valid and objective testing methods and procedures. Examples of these are tests conducted using the employee's blood, urine, or saliva. Under the revision, a drug test may also be a physical evaluation by a person certified as a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert. Suppose an employee is found to be under the influence in the workplace or during work hours after a drug test and a Recognition Expert's evaluation. In that case, the employer may take adverse action.
However, the amendment to the Act allows a legitimate medical explanation if an employee gets a positive test result. The employer is required to provide the employee or job applicant written notice of this right to explain the result. The employee that receives such notice may submit information to the employer to explain the positive test result within three business days of receiving the written notice. The proof of registration with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission or the authorization for medical cannabis issued by a health care practitioner or both may be presented with the explanation. On the other hand, within the same three business days, the employee or job applicant may request a retest of the original sample to verify the test result, but this will be at their expense.
New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance Marketplace Modernization Act (Assembly No. 21)
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance Marketplace Modernization Act is the law that legalizes the recreational use and possession of cannabis in New Jersey by adults 21 years and older. Governor Phil Murphy, on February 22, 2021, signed the cannabis reform bill into law. The Act decriminalizes the possession of six ounces of marijuana or less used on private property. The amendment also removes marijuana as a Schedule I drug. It provides that the adult use and sale of cannabis in New Jersey will be subject to the regular state sales tax of 6.625% and authorizes local governments in the state to add an extra 2% tax.
The Act redefined the responsibilities of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission as regards the personal use of cannabis. The responsibilities are:
The Act also highlights six marketplace classes of licensed businesses, including:
Assembly No. 1897 and 4269 New Jersey Legislature
This law was among the bills signed into law in February 2021. It decriminalizes the possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, hashish, and personal-use quantities of regulated marijuana-infused products. It also requires substance abuse treatment under certain circumstances. The law provides for criminal and civil justice reforms and addresses legal consequences linked to certain marijuana and hashish offenses. In addition, A1897 creates awareness of available expungement relief. Under the law, expunged records include warrants, arrests, complaints, processing records, fingerprints, commitments, photographs, rap sheets, index cards, and judicial docket records. It also requires pending possession charges to be downgraded or dismissed. However, there is no information on when individuals will be able to begin the expungement process.
Senate Bill, No. 3454
Introduced on February 11th, 2021, the law addresses underage possession or consumption of various forms of cannabis and the legal consequences for such activities. It initiates funding for programs and services to help discourage and prevent underage possession and consumption of cannabis items. The law provides that anyone aged between 18 and under 21 years found with marijuana, hashish, or any cannabis item in any public place (including a motor vehicle) shall be fined not less than $250. Likewise, anyone under 18 years old found with marijuana, hashish, or any cannabis item shall be fined not less than $500.
Although different laws have been signed to set the framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in New Jersey, the sale of cannabis in the state has not begun as of June 2021. According to the new head of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission, sales of marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, and hash and concentrates may not begin until 2022 as regulations around the commercial sales market have not been established. However, state-registered medical marijuana patients can purchase medical marijuana at state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries, also referred to as Alternative Treatment Centers in New Jersey, pay $20,000 annually in license fees. These dispensaries are not allowed to sell marijuana to residents that are not state-registered medical marijuana patients.
While marijuana is legalized for use by adults aged 21 and older in New Jersey, there are rules guiding its use, and failure to abide by these rules will result in penalties, depending on the gravity of the crime. Below are marijuana-related crimes and their penalties.
Adults aged 21 years and older can possess up to 6 ounces of cannabis in New Jersey. However, anything more than that is considered illegal and will attract a penalty of a fine and imprisonment. Possessing more than 6 ounces of cannabis by an adult is a fourth-degree crime that will attract a prison term of 18 months and a fine of up to $25,000. If the culprit is found within 1000 feet of a school, extra 100 hours of community service and an additional fine will be added to the sentence. Possessing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school will result in extra 100 hours of community service to the sentence and a variable fine depending on quantity.
The sale or distribution of marijuana is currently illegal in New Jersey. A person found distributing less than 1 ounce of marijuana will receive a written warning if it is a first-time offense. However, subsequent offenses would attract penalties, depending on the quantity of marijuana being distributed or sold.
The location where the violation occurs also influences the penalty that will be meted out to the culprit.
Sale or distribution within 1,000 feet of school property or a school bus is a 3rd-degree crime that attracts a sentence ranging from 3 to 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000. However, if the culprit is found with less than 1 ounce, the mandatory minimum sentence of either half or one-third of the regular sentence will be imposed.
Sale or distribution of less than 1 ounce within 500 feet of any public property is a 3rd-degree crime that will result in 3 to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.
Sale or distribution of marijuana exceeding 1 ounce within 500 feet of any public property is a felony punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000.
Sales of marijuana made to minors or pregnant women are felonies, resulting in double the fine and imprisonment term.
In New Jersey, is the resin obtained from any part of the plant Genus Cannabis L. and any compound, production, derivative, salt, mixture, or preparation of such resin. The law permits adults aged 18 years and older to possess up to 17 grams of hashish. However, the possession of more than 17 grams of hashish is a 4th-degree crime that attracts a maximum sentence term of 18 months imprisonment and a maximum fine of $25,000. Other related offenses and their penalties include:
The law permits a person over the age of 21 to purchase, possess, and use cannabis paraphernalia. However, the sale of paraphernalia is a 4th-degree crime punishable by a sentence of not more than 18 months in prison and a fine of not more than $10,000. Selling paraphernalia to minors is a 3rd-degree crime punishable by a sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison and a maximum sentence of $25,000. Individuals are not allowed to advertise the sale of any such device or equipment as it is a 4th-degree crime punishable by a fine not exceeding $10,000 or 18 months in prison, or both.
Presently, New Jersey does not permit the cultivation of marijuana in the state. The quantity determines the penalties for cultivating cannabis. The quantity via a vis the penalties include: