Yes. Cultivation of marijuana is allowed in Somerset County. In 2020, the State of New Jersey held a general election termed Public Question No. 1 Constitutional Amendment to Legalize Marijuana. Nearly 64% of the voters in Somerset County agreed to the use of cannabis in the state. Following the general election results, recreational and medical marijuana were legal in New Jersey the following year.
However, while state laws legalized marijuana in New Jersey, most townships in Somerset County do not issue Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator licenses. For instance, Franklin Township allows cannabis cultivators to operate within their region, while Bridgewater Township bans the operation of any class of marijuana establishment in all zones.
According to the NJ Administrative Code 17:30, licensed cannabis cultivation entities may grow marijuana in indoor and outdoor areas on the condition that it is in an enclosed and locked region within their business premises indicated in their licenses. Private individuals are not permitted to produce their marijuana plants and products.
Yes. Cannabis manufacturers must acquire Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer licenses to produce cannabis products in the county. Not all cities and towns in Somerset County issue all of the six (6) classes of licenses for cannabis businesses. Franklin Township allowed all six cannabis businesses: cultivators, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and deliverers to operate within their borders.
Under the NJAC 17:30, licensed cannabis manufacturers must designate a safe and orderly area for the manufacturing of cannabis products, one that is well-lighted and ventilated, and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. On the other hand, cannabis manufacturers are not allowed by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to cultivate cannabis, or to sell cannabis, cannabis products, and paraphernalia directly to consumers.
Yes. Somerset County allows cannabis dispensaries to operate within their borders, subject to ordinances passed by its cities and townships. As mentioned above, Franklin Township allows cannabis retailers to dispense cannabis and cannabis products to consumers. Other towns banned the operation of all cannabis establishments within their boundaries, such as Bridgwater Township, Warren Township, among others. Somerville City is a different case where Ordinance 2641-21-0621 banned five (5) cannabis business licenses but permitted cannabis retailers to conduct their business within its borders.
Twenty-one-year-old residents in New Jersey can purchase cannabis and cannabis products. Recreational users are legally allowed to have not more than one (1) ounce total of cannabis and cannabis products. Cannabis may be in the form of dried flowers, resins, oils, tinctures, vape formulas, syringes, topicals, soft chews, and lozenges. Cookies and brownies categorized as perishable edibles are prohibited from being sold in any dispensary.
Yes. Cannabis delivery services must apply for a Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license from the CRC to be authorized to transport cannabis and cannabis products from retailers to consumers. Remember that only a few towns in Somerset County allow cannabis delivery services in their geographical area, like Franklin Township. Although Branchburg Township bans all six cannabis business licenses, including delivery services, marijuana users may still purchase and have their cannabis products delivered to their door from licensed delivery services situated outside the geographical boundaries of the township. This is also true for other cities and townships that banned all six (6) cannabis businesses.
Registered patients and caregivers under the Medicinal Cannabis Program may utilize cannabis delivery services for their supply of medicinal cannabis. Marijuana dispensaries and delivery services shall require the patients and caregivers to present MCP cards, and recreational users to show their government-issued ID for proper identification.
The New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Program (NJMCP) was implemented to help qualified patients safely access medicinal marijuana from dispensaries and purchase the proper dosage suited for them. Being an MCP patient or caregiver allows one to buy medicinal cannabis up to three (3) ounces per 30 days, versus a recreational user who can only purchase up to one (1) ounce of cannabis product.
Creating a patient account is necessary for qualified patients and caregivers to get into the program and receive their ID cards issued by the NJMCP.
To qualify as a registered patient in the program, an applicant is required to have a doctor-patient relationship that lasted for at least a year, be a resident in New Jersey, and be diagnosed with any qualifying conditions by the health practitioner. The authorized qualifying conditions are:
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Epilepsy or seizure disorders
Intractable skeletal muscular spasticity
Inflammatory bowel disease
Opioid Use Disorder
Positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Terminal illness with only less than 1 year to live
Your healthcare provider must also be a participant in the program, which you can verify here. The Commission has provided a step-by-step guide for prospective patients to register in the Medicinal Cannabis Registry.
Medicinal Cannabis Program Customer Service
For patients, caregivers, and health care practitioners:
The NJ Division of Taxation reduced yearly the sales tax imposed on medical marijuana. From July 2020 to June 2021, medical marijuana was subject to a 4% sales tax and was decreased to 2% from July 2021 to June 2022. Starting July 2022, no sales tax will burden the dispensing of medical marijuana to registered patients and caregivers.
Conversely, 6.625% sales and use taxes continue to be imposed on recreational marijuana.
In the first month (April to May 2021) of selling recreational marijuana, the CRC reported having amassed $24 million in total sales for over 210,000 transactions. By the 10th week of purchase, the state of New Jersey garnered more or less $80 million in total sales.
Prior to the cannabis legalization in New Jersey, in 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported nearly 20,000 arrests were made for the illegal possession of marijuana, while more than 3,000 arrests were made for unlawful sale and manufacturing of marijuana. By 2021, the amendment to the state constitution legalizing cannabis took effect. At this time, the FBI made 200 arrests for illegal possession of marijuana, while over 40 arrests were made for the illicit sale and manufacturing of marijuana. The legal sale of cannabis by licensed dispensaries only began in April 2022.
In a news article published by Politico, the New Jersey Judiciary provided data that showed from March 2021 to August 2022, only 34 arrests were made for manufacturing and dispensing more than the allowed one (1) ounce of cannabis. This was compared to the more than 2,000 arrests made for the same offense, two years following the legalization of cannabis in the state.
Crime rate data on illegal marijuana possession, sale, and manufacturing is still lacking due to the novelty of marijuana legalization in New Jersey. Authors of Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey: A Baseline Study in Rutgers University, New Jersey share the same sentiment that there is data limitation on the crime rates publicly available in the state. The researchers included in their data needs and limitations that in order for them to better monitor the effects of cannabis legalization on contact with law enforcement (including arrests), researchers and policymakers in the state must have access to more information than the publicly available data.