Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: May 26, 2022
Adult-use cannabis market opens
On April 21, 2022, the New Jersey adult-use cannabis market officially opened. In March 2022, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) approved licenses for seven alternative treatment centers to allow sales of adult-use cannabis products to adults 21 and older without a medical card. The CRC authorized 13 individual dispensaries to begin operations on April 21.
Under guidance issued by the CRC, medical patients may purchase up to three ounces every 30 days, while adult-use consumers can purchase up to one ounce per transaction.
This milestone culminates years of advocacy by supporters, advocates, and lawmakers to bring an adult-use cannabis market to fruition in New Jersey.
On December 8, 2021, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) approved 30 additional medical licenses. Since 2019, the 30 licenses had been frozen by a court order that lifted earlier this year. The CRC said the approval would double the number of medical dispensaries in the Garden State.
Also, on November 9, the CRC issued the Notice of Application for recreational licenses. The Notice of Application specifies eligibility requirements, the prioritization process, application requirements, scoring measures, approval processes, and denial determinations for adult-use applicants. The applications will be reviewed as they are received on a continuous rolling basis, with Social Equity, Impact Zone, and Diversely Owned Businesses receiving priority.
License applications were accepted for cultivators, manufacturers, and testing laboratories starting on December 15, 2021. Applications for retailers will start being accepted on March 15, 2022. Applications can be found here.
On August 19, 2021, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) adopted the first set of rules that will guide the cultivation, manufacture, and sale of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey. Some of the highlights include:
Prioritizing applications from certified minority-, women-, and disabled veteran-owned businesses and from applicants who live or will operate in one of several designated impact zones.
Flexible application requirements for microbusinesses and those applying for conditional licenses.
Application fees as low as $100.
The rules become effective immediately upon filing with the Office of Administrative Law and will remain in effect for up to one year. The CRC will begin accepting applications for cannabis business licenses soon.
You can check out a full summary of the initial rules here.
Gov. Murphy announces final appointments to Cannabis Regulatory Commission
On February 25, 2021, Gov. Murphy announced three appointments to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), completing the five-member body. Gov. Murphy appointed Maria Del Cid, Sam Delgado, and Charles Baker as the final three members. Maria Del Cid most recently served as the Director of Policy and Legislative Services at the New Jersey Department of Health. Sam Delgado most recently served as Vice President of External Affairs for Verizon before his retirement in 2019. Since 2017, Charles Baker has served as Constituent Advocate and Projects Specialist for U.S. Senator Cory Booker. These three appointees will join previously announced appointees Commission Chair Dianna Houenou and Krista Nash.
Created under the 2019 “Jake’s Law,” the CRC will regulate New Jersey’s medical cannabis marketplace and provide oversight for the adult-use recreational market.
Gov. Murphy signs three bills ending cannabis prohibition in N.J.
On February 22, 2021, Gov. Murphy signed three bills related to cannabis legalization, ending a three-year campaign to regulate and tax cannabis in the Garden State. In November 2020, New Jerseyans overwhelming approved a ballot referendum supporting cannabis legalization. The following month, the legislature responded with the passage of S.21 and S.2535. However, both measures stalled due to concerns surrounding penalties for underage use.
On February 19, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced A.5342, which addresses penalties for underage use. On February 22, 2021, both chambers voted to approve A.5342, and Gov. Murphy immediately signed all three bills into law. You can check out a summary of the bills here.
Although Gov. Murphy’s signature means the end of arrests and prosecution for cannabis in New Jersey, it will likely take a few months before residents are able to purchase cannabis from retailers as the recently formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission develops rules for adult-use licenses.
Medical cannabis program expanded
On June 2, 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed A20, also known as Jake’s Law — named after Jake Honig, a pediatric patient who used medical cannabis during his battle with cancer. The law institutes many much needed reforms to the medical cannabis program, including:
expanding qualifying conditions, including by adding chronic pain;
providing anti-discrimination protections, including related to education, rental housing, professional licensing, and employment;
expanding access, including by increasing the number of cultivators, retailers, and manufacturers; and
allowing home delivery.
A more detailed summary of the changes can be found here.
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Great news! Last week, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) approved the licenses of seven medical cannabis companies to allow the sale of adult-use cannabis products to adults 21 years and older without a medical card later this month.