Laws in NJ: Is It Legal to Grow Cannabis in New Jersey?
Welcome to the Garden State's green revolution! As New Jersey is embracing the transformative era of legalized cannabis, it becomes a vital part of the local economy. While recreational and medical marijuana is already a legal crop in New Jersey, legalization of home cultivation is still on the horizon.
Is Marijuana Legal in NJ?
In New Jersey, both medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal.
Marijuana enjoys legal status for both medical and recreational use. The green light for medical marijuana came in January 2010, and in 2020, adult-use cannabis was legalized.
Simple possession of marijuana and hashish was decriminalized in 2021 for those 21 and older. The legalization of recreational marijuana sales began in 2022.
For recreational use, adults aged 21 and older can legally possess up to 6 ounces of marijuana. Doses of medical marijuana are solely determined by New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) health practitioners.
Medical marijuana, typically packaged in 1/4 or 1/8 ounce units, is accessible to MMP-registered patients who are 18 years or older. However, the current legal limit is 3 ounces within 30 days, unless the patient is terminally ill, in which case there is no set limit.
Can You Grow Cannabis in NJ?
Image via Hey abby grower_flowering home-grown cannabis
Unlike many other states that have legalized medical marijuana cultivation, New Jersey prohibits home cultivation, even for registered medical marijuana patients.
However, Senator Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth) introduced bill S-3582 in March 2021. If enacted, adults aged 21 and older will be allowed to grow up to 6 marijuana plants at home and a maximum of 12 plants per household. Additionally, medical patients will be permitted to grow up to 10 plants as adults.
As of now, growing even a single marijuana plant in New Jersey is a crime, carrying hefty fines and substantial jail time.
- Growing fewer than 10 plants (equivalent to 1 ounce) is a crime.
- Growing 10 to 49 plants (equivalent to 5 to 25 pounds of marijuana) is punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.
- Growing 50 or more plants (equivalent to more than 25 pounds of marijuana) is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a $300,000 fine.
How to Qualify for Medical Marijuana Card in New Jersey?
To be eligible for medical marijuana use in New Jersey, you must:
- Be a resident of the state;
- Be 18 years or older;
- Have a qualifying medical condition verified by an approved healthcare practitioner under the New Jersey Medicinal Cannabis Program (NJMCP).
If you're a New Jersey resident under 18, you must:
- Have chronic debilitating conditions approved under the state's medical cannabis laws.
- Have a designated adult caregiver.
- Obtain approvals or certifications from physicians.
A New Jersey medical marijuana (MMJ) card remains valid for a duration of two years. If your medical cannabis certification has expired, you must obtain an active certification before renewing. To renew, log in to your New Jersey patient registry account, select the renewal option, and complete the process—similar to the initial application process.
Can I Grow Medical Marijuana at Home with a Medical Card?
No, you can't at the moment. Bills are pending in the legislature to permit growing marijuana for medical purposes at home.
Medical vs Recreational Marijuana Regulations in NJ
Having a New Jersey MMJ card provides patients with several benefits.
Medical marijuana is given precedence over recreational marijuana, ensuring a consistent supply for cardholders. Moreover, medical marijuana patients receive personalized care from healthcare practitioners who monitor their treatments and prescribe appropriate dosages.
In New Jersey, medical marijuana cardholders can buy up to 3 ounces every 30 days, while recreational buyers are limited to 1 ounce per purchase. Furthermore, medical marijuana is exempt from sales tax, making it a more cost-effective option compared to recreational marijuana in the state.
Additional Restrictions and Penalties
While New Jersey has legalized cannabis, it's crucial to be aware of certain restrictions to avoid potential penalties:
- Transporting marijuana, whether medicinal or recreational, across state lines is illegal at both state and federal levels, constituting New Jersey marijuana trafficking.
- Consumption of cannabis on federal property remains illegal.
- Residents are prohibited from providing or selling cannabis to minors and pregnant women.
- Driving under the influence of cannabis is strictly prohibited.
- Public consumption of cannabis is illegal. Individuals must refrain from possessing cannabis within 1000 feet of schools, school buses, public transportation, correctional facilities, or in a private vehicle unless it's not in operation. This prohibition extends to areas where smoking is prohibited, including public parks, beaches, and recreation centers.
- Property owners retain the right to prohibit the use and possession of cannabis on their premises if they choose.
Get Weekly Expert Tips, and Grow Healthy Plants
Join our newsletter to get exclusive growing tips delivered directly to your inbox.