2023 New Jersey Cannabis Laws

A.W. Naves
May 24, 2023

New Jersey dispensaries began selling legal recreational cannabis products in April 2022. Due to the evolving nature of the laws and regulations in the early days of legalization, you may have questions about the laws governing the cannabis industry. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.

What is the legal consumption age in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the consumption of cannabis is limited to adults aged 21 and over. However, there is an exception that allows minors with a qualifying medical condition to participate in the Medicinal Cannabis Program.  

Where can I buy cannabis products in New Jersey?

Cannabis can only be purchased legally from licensed retailers. These licensed dispensaries are regulated by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). A list of these licensed sellers can be found on the CRC website.

A New Jersey budtender is helping a customer purchase cannabis at a dispensary.

How much tax will I pay on cannabis?

NJ levies a standard sales tax of 6.625% on sales of cannabis. However, municipalities that house growers, processors, wholesalers, or retailers have the option to impose an additional transfer tax of up to 2% of the sale price.

Additionally, cultivators must charge a social equity excise fee that may be passed on to retail buyers. This fee changes each year based on the average retail prices in New Jersey. It currently stands at $1.52 per ounce.

What products are available at NJ dispensaries?

New Jersey cannabis dispensaries are limited to the sale of dried flower, resin, vape formulas, concentrated oils, topical applications, tinctures, lozenges, and soft chewables (gummies), but it is up to each dispensary to select their product offerings.Regulations currently prohibit the sale of perishable edibles such as brownies or cookies at New Jersey dispensaries.

A variety of cannabis products which are sold at New Jersey dispensaries.

How much cannabis can I purchase in NJ?

New Jersey cannabis dispensaries are allowed to sell a maximum of 28.35 grams (1 ounce) of dried flower or its equivalent per customer transaction. This includes up to 4 grams of solid cannabis resin, 4 grams of vape oil, and 1000 mg of cannabis-infused products. It might also mean some combination of these products or others that add up to the legal limit.

While you may visit a dispensary multiple times a day, it is illegal to have more than 6 ounces of cannabis in your possession at any one time.

Can I grow personal use cannabis at home?

Home cultivation of cannabis for recreational use is not permitted in New Jersey. Only licensed cultivators are allowed to legally grow cannabis plants. Unlicensed individuals caught growing cannabis crops are subject to the following punitive measures and a felony conviction on their record:

  • Third-degree conviction: Those found guilty of growing fewer than 10 plants can be sentenced to 3-5 years in jail and given a maximum fine of $25,000.
  • Second-degree conviction: Those found guilty of growing more than 10 but less than 50 plants can be sentenced to 5-10 years in jail and given a maximum fine of $150,000.
  • First-degree conviction: Those found guilty of growing more than 50 plants can be sentenced to 10-20 years in jail and a maximum fine of $300,000.

Can I drive after or while consuming cannabis in New Jersey?

While marijuana use has been decriminalized in New Jersey, this does not mean you can operate a vehicle while consuming it. New Jersey statute NJ 39:4-50 allows police to arrest a person operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis. Violating this law can result in severe legal penalties that may include:

  • $300-$500 fine
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • 12-48 hours of attendance at an impaired drivers resource center
  • 7 months-1 year driver’s license suspension

Can I purchase cannabis in NJ and take it to another state?

Even though recreational cannabis is now legal in 22 states and two territories, it remains illegal under federal law. Consequently, transporting cannabis across state lines is a federal offense. This means you cannot legally take cannabis purchased in New Jersey into another state, regardless of that state’s cannabis laws.

Where can cannabis be smoked?

Cannabis can be consumed in private residences or areas specifically designated for tobacco smoking. Public consumption is strictly prohibited. Consuming cannabis in a moving vehicle is illegal, even if you are not the driver. Property owners renting out space or living quarters retain the right to restrict or prohibit the use of cannabis on their property.

A man is smoking cannabis in New Jersey.

Can I have my NJ cannabis conviction expunged?

New Jersey's cannabis law is a provision that allows for the expungement of past convictions related to cannabis offenses. This provision helps address the lasting impact of cannabis prohibition on individuals and communities. However, it is only an option for low-level offenses that include:

  • Cannabis distribution of under 1 ounce
  • Cannabis possession of under 50 grams
  • Cannabis possession of over 50 grams

How is social equity addressed in New Jersey cannabis laws?

A unique aspect of New Jersey's cannabis laws is the focus on social equity. The CRC has been tasked with prioritizing license applications from socially and economically disadvantaged communities. This includes businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. Although applications are currently closed due to an overwhelming demand, it is expected that the program will re-open at a later date.

Can I gift cannabis to others?

It is legal to gift cannabis in New Jersey, but there are some caveats. The recipient must be over the age of 21 and the amount gifted is limited to one ounce. Also, the giving of cannabis must not be in exchange for money or any other form of compensation.

Someone is gifting cannabis to someone in New Jersey.

Can I be fired from my job for cannabis use in New Jersey?

New Jersey's cannabis laws offer employment protections for individuals who use cannabis. NJ employers cannot take adverse action against an employee solely based on their status as a cannabis user. However, this does not give employees the right to be impaired at work, and employers can still enforce drug-free workplace policies. It is best to fully understand your company’s policies and abide by them.

How do I get a license to open a cannabis business in New Jersey?

For those wanting to learn how to open a NJ dispensary or get involved in another aspect of the cannabis industry, New Jersey offers seven types of licenses.

New Jersey cannabis licenses:

  1. Cannabis Cultivator: Grows cannabis for raw, bulk sale.
  2. Cannabis Manufacturer: Produces finished cannabis goods for bulk sale to wholesalers.
  3. Cannabis Wholesaler: Purchases, warehouses, and sells bulk cannabis products to retail outlets.
  4. Cannabis Distributor: Transports cannabis products between respective cultivators, manufacturers, or retailers.
  5. Cannabis Retailer: Purchases recreational use cannabis and sells them to end customers in dispensaries.
  6. Cannabis Delivery: Transports retail sales from a dispensary to end customers.
  7. Conditional License: Allows for building a new cannabis business while working to meet the requirements for their intended license.

If you want to join the growing number of entrepreneurs opening cannabis businesses, KayaPush can help you streamline your payroll and employee management. Book a free demo to find out more.

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May 2023


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