New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law

New Jersey has a robust medical marijuana program that lawmakers established in response to overwhelming public support for the drug. Recreational cannabis is also legal in NJ, but registered cannabis patients enjoy access to more cannabis products and have more legal protections.

For many individuals, the use of cannabis provides life-changing symptom relief that restores their quality of life and functional ability. Cannabis is often a viable alternative when conventional interventions are ineffective or cause detrimental side effects. As of August 2023, there are over 100,000 registered patients in New Jersey.

Learning about applicable New Jersey laws is essential to becoming a medical marijuana patient. While cardholders have expanded access to cannabis, they remain bound by several important regulations. Understanding your rights will help you get the most out of medical cannabis in NJ.

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New Jersey Medical Marijuana Law History

Former Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, legalizing medical marijuana. The state legislature then debated the rules for the program, finalizing the original policies in 2011. Individuals were initially required to recertify as medical marijuana patients every 90 days. The law limited them to two ounces of marijuana per 30 days.

Patient registrations began in August 2012. The first dispensaries, called Alternative Treatment Centers, opened in December 2012. The original law limited the state to six dispensaries. Lawmakers added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of qualifying conditions in 2016.

Opioid use disorder and chronic pain became approved qualifying conditions in 2018. The legislature also dropped the registration fee from $200 to $100. Dispensaries were permitted to open satellite offices that year.

Subsequent reforms in 2019 increased patients’ possession limit to three ounces and abolished monthly limits for terminally ill patients. The state senate also increased the number of dispensaries within its borders and extended employment protections to registered cardholders.

In 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health began allowing telehealth visits for medical marijuana consultations, as well as curbside pickup and delivery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marijuana Possession Laws in New Jersey

Registered patients can obtain up to 84 grams of cannabis from dispensaries per 30-day period. Individuals 21 and older can possess up to six ounces of cannabis under the state's adult-use law. Possession of more than six ounces, even if you’re an MMJ patient, is punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $25,000 fine.

New Jersey Public Consumption Laws

Public consumption is illegal for recreational marijuana users. They can only use marijuana products inside private residences. Landlords may prohibit marijuana use on their property. It is important to remember that possessing or using marijuana on federal land, like courthouses or national parks, is illegal under federal law.

Registered patients can smoke cannabis anywhere tobacco use is allowed, which is consistent with the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act.

New Jersey Cannabis DUI Laws

New Jersey has implied consent, which means police can drug-test citizens based on their behavior. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis, regardless of the amount of THC in your system. Law enforcement has the power to stop drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence.

First-time offenses are punished with a $300 to $700 fine, up to 30 days in prison, and a license suspension of seven to 12 months. Minimum penalties increase with each subsequent infraction.

Applying for A New Jersey Medical Marijuana Card?

Becoming a medical marijuana cardholder in New Jersey requires consulting a healthcare provider registered with the state’s program. Applicants must have a one-year or longer relationship with their recommending physician and a debilitating medical condition from the state’s list of qualifying conditions, such as Crohn’s disease or Tourette’s Syndrome.

As a qualifying patient, you will receive a reference number and registry ID when the doctor issues your recommendation for medical marijuana. You can then register for an account using this information. After establishing your online registration, you can upload a recent passport-style photo for your MMJ identification card.

The next step is to upload a copy of your New Jersey ID or two documents that prove your residency. Acceptable documents include a recent utility bill, the previous year's W2, a property tax bill, a deed, or three consecutive pay stubs. You can then submit the $50 application fee and apply for your card. Medical marijuana registrations are valid for two years.

The Sanctuary Wellness Institute can advise you about your MMJ card eligibility and the state of New Jersey’s application requirements. Our team can guide you through the application process and help you submit a complete and accurate application so you can become a member of the NJ medicinal cannabis program as expediently as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Recreational use and possession is legal for individuals over 21 years old. Adult-use purchases are subject to a 6.625% state sales tax and a 0.003% social equity fee. Medical marijuana purchases are exempt from state sales taxes.

In the event of product shortages, cardholders receive preference over recreational users. Patients have access to more cannabis dispensaries than recreational customers. Cannabis businesses also have patient-only hours and priority access for cardholders.

Patients and caregivers can possess anything bought from an Alternative Care Center. NJ dispensaries sell dried flower, edibles, concentrates, lozenges, pills, tablets, capsules, drops and syrups, tinctures, topical applications, transdermal patches, and sublingual products.

Patients and caregivers should carry their cards at all times. The state recommends keeping medical marijuana in its original packaging and only consuming it at home. Patients should only transport medical marijuana when necessary and place it in sealed containers before doing so.

You cannot possess products bought from anywhere but licensed dispensaries. Cardholders also cannot have another patient's medical marijuana or more than six ounces of cannabis on their person.

Patients and caregivers cannot possess or cultivate cannabis plants.

Medical marijuana purchases are limited to 84 ounces per 30-day period. Patients with a terminal illness are exempt from this purchase limit.

New Jersey residents can possess up to six ounces of marijuana. Nobody can exceed this limit, regardless of their patient status.

Patients with a valid out-of-state medical marijuana card can enroll in the New Jersey registry and receive a temporary medical marijuana card. These authorizations expire after six months.

Visiting patients must consult a New Jersey physician registered with the state’s program and enroll through the state’s website to get their official NJ medical cannabis cards.

Yes. New Jersey state law does not require patients to undergo a background check to register for their medical marijuana cards. Caregiver applicants are only required to undergo a criminal background check if they are not an immediate family member of the patient they plan to assist..