Cannabis cultivation is legal in the entire state of New Jersey, including Passaic County. For businesses to cultivate cannabis, they are required to get Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator licenses from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). This license will only be given, however, in municipalities that allow cannabis businesses within their borders.
The use and sale of medical cannabis for qualified patients aged 18 and older was first allowed in 2010 in New Jersey through the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA). The medical marijuana program of the state was expanded by the Jake Honig Compassionate Use Medical Cannabis Act in 2019.
This was further expanded to the use of recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and older within the state on February 22, 2021, when the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act of New Jersey was approved. In Passaic County, when the amendment was put to a vote, 131,449 voted yes and 75,578 voted no. Today, the New Jersey CRC regulates the cannabis industry and the medical and recreational use of cannabis in the state.
New Jersey municipalities are allowed by the CREAMM to create their own local laws covering cannabis businesses based within their areas. They can choose to opt in or opt out of allowing these. Municipalities are not allowed, however, to ban cannabis delivery to consumers within their areas or the passing of deliveries through their areas. In Passaic County, five municipalities have opted into allowing cannabis businesses. Two localities are allowing retail cannabis businesses and three localities are allowing non-retail cannabis businesses. Meanwhile, 11 localities have opted out of allowing cannabis businesses.
Throughout the state of New Jersey, there are 13 licensed cannabis cultivators. Their Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license authorizes them to plant and harvest recreational cannabis and to sell to other licensed cannabis cultivators, licensed cannabis manufacturers, licensed cannabis retailers, and licensed cannabis wholesalers.
[Marijuana can be grown indoors or outdoors by Licensed Class 1 Cannabis Cultivators. To grow marijuana outdoors, they need municipal approval, though. All marijuana cultivation facilities must be secured completely.
Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license holders are required to meet all CRC regulations on cannabis propagation of seeds and immature plants, cannabis industry best practices, and public health and safety standards of the state. The number of immature cannabis plants that each licensed cultivator can own, as well as the size of the grow canopy they can use, can be regulated by the CRC.
The CRC may also schedule the submission from each licensed cannabis cultivator of samples of their plants to a third-party CRC-licensed testing facility. The tester may likewise make unscheduled trips to the cultivating facility to take random samples for testing. Test results will be submitted to the CRC.
The CRC further requires licensed cannabis cultivators to accurately record the number of cannabis flowers, immature plants, and ounces of leaves they produce at specific production dates. They should also record accurately the number of cannabis flowers, immature plants, and ounces of leaves they sell at specific dates.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in the entire state of New Jersey, including Passaic County. For businesses to manufacture cannabis, they are required to get Class 1 Cannabis Manufacturer licenses from the New Jersey CRC. This license will only be given, however, in municipalities that allow cannabis businesses within their borders.
Throughout the state of New Jersey, there are eight licensed cannabis manufacturers that are also licensed cultivators.
The CRC will schedule when every licensed cannabis manufacturer is required to submit product samples to a third-party CRC-licensed testing facility. The testing facility may also make random visits to the processing facility to take samples for testing. Test results shall be submitted to the CRC.
All cannabis products of licensed cannabis manufacturers are required to be in special child-resistant opaque packaging that are accurately labeled. All labels must have the following information:
The label must likewise include one of the following:
Cannabis retail is legal in the entire state of New Jersey, including Passaic County. For businesses to sell cannabis, they are required to get Class 1 Cannabis Retailer licenses from the New Jersey CRC. This license will only be given, however, in municipalities that allow cannabis businesses within their borders.
Marijuana can be sold by licensed cannabis retailers to anyone aged 21 and older, with no required medical marijuana card. Buyers must present any legitimate identification card showing their age. The licensed retailer is required to verify the age of the buyer through the ID.
Throughout the state of New Jersey, there are 12 medical cannabis dispensaries that are also licensed cultivators. For recreational cannabis, there are seven licensed cannabis retailers statewide. Meanwhile, there is one dispensary in Passaic County.
Licensed cannabis retailers are allowed to sell edible cannabis products but these are limited to chewable forms, capsules, pills, tablets, and syrups. Food like cookies or brownies are not included. The CRC also limits the allowed additives for vape cartridges to filter out harmful substances.
The licensed cannabis dispensary must add to the label of every cannabis item the dispensary name and license number.
One cannabis consumption area is allowed for every licensed cannabis dispensary. This can be located inside the dispensary enclosure. It can also be an enclosed exterior structure that is within the dispensary’s premises.
Cannabis delivery is legal in the entire state of New Jersey, including Passaic County. For businesses to sell cannabis, they are required to get Class 1 Cannabis Retailer licenses or Class 6 Cannabis Delivery licenses from the New Jersey CRC. These licenses will only be given in municipalities that allow cannabis businesses within their borders. However, any licensed cannabis retailer or delivery service can deliver purchased cannabis to any municipality and pass through any locality in New Jersey to do so.
Holders of the Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license are authorized to deliver cannabis purchases for licensed retailers to consumers’ homes. The CRC has not yet opened applications for Class 6 Cannabis Delivery licenses as of 22 August 2022.
Licensed retailers can use their own personnel in delivering cannabis to the homes of consumers in New Jersey, whether these residences are permanent or temporary. A delivery fee can be charged by licensed cannabis retailers, but it must not exceed 10% of the pre-tax price of the order. Deliveries to residences in a building or on land owned by the Federal government are not allowed.
Cannabis delivery does not require a medical marijuana card. Anyone who purchases cannabis for delivery must be aged 21 or older, though, and must show proof through any legitimate identification card. Verification of the buyer’s age through the ID card is required of the licensed cannabis retailer for each sale. The verification process through the ID card must be repeated during the delivery, before giving the product to the consumer.
For every cannabis delivery, the licensed retailer must log the following information:
During each delivery, personnel from the licensed cannabis retailer are required to carry their Cannabis Business ID Card. They must secure the cannabis product in a locked box throughout the journey. The licensed retailer must use GPS to track the delivery vehicle. Arriving at the destination, the delivery personnel must do the verification process with the buyer’s ID card and hand over the cannabis product personally. Leaving the delivered cannabis in a receptacle like a mailbox or dropbox is not permitted.
New Jersey residents can be eligible to get a medical marijuana card if they are diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:
A patient must be diagnosed and certified by a doctor who is registered with the New Jersey Medical Cannabis Program (NJMCP). Registered physicians can be searched online by location or by specialization.
The doctor will give a qualified patient a reference number to use for registering online. The patient must prepare the following requirements:
For the following, the registration fee is reduced to $20:
After the patient submits the online form, an email will confirm approval of the application. The patient will be instructed to log in to pay the registration fee online. The medical marijuana card will be mailed by the state to the patient and any registered caregivers.
Minors are prohibited from purchasing medical cannabis even if they have a medical marijuana card. Up to two caregivers can be registered in the NJMCP to assist a patient who is a minor in purchasing medical cannabis. The caregivers will also be sent medical marijuana cards. Adult patients who are physically unable to purchase medical cannabis by themselves can do the same.
While the CREAMM was passed in February 2021, the retail selling of recreational cannabis only began on April 21, 2022. Data from the CRC’s News and Events page shows that gross sales of cannabis on that day from 12 licensed dispensaries statewide reached $1.9 million in total.
People in need of medical cannabis also stocked up. On April 20, ATCs across the state sold 5,400 ounces of medical cannabis to patients. The same volume of medical cannabis was sold from April 22 to 26.
The CRC reports that since April 21 up to June 30, recreational cannabis sales have totaled $79,698,831. From that, the state earned $4,649,202 in total tax revenues, inclusive of the $219,482 in Social Equity Excise Fees.
The New Jersey Treasury’s Taxation publication on cannabis businesses states that recreational cannabis carries a sales tax of 6.625%. The sales tax on medical marijuana was previously the same but it was gradually reduced to 4% from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, and 2% from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. On July 1, 2022, sales tax on medical marijuana was lifted.
In Passaic County, the five municipalities that are allowing cannabis businesses can levy the following taxes, depending on each business type:
Medical cannabis was first legalized when CUMMA was passed in 2010. As a baseline, data from the Passaic Sheriff’s Office reported on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer that drug abuse violations increased from 115 in 2009 to 125 in 2020.
Arrests for drug sales or manufacturing decreased from 115 in 2009 to 61 in 2020 but drug possession arrests increased from none in 2009 to 64 in 2020. Specific arrests for marijuana sales decreased slightly from 17 in 2009 to 16 in 2020 but arrests for marijuana possession increased from none in 2009 to 28 in 2020. Meanwhile, DUI arrests decreased from 113 in 2009 to 36 in 2020.