What is the Legal Status of Cannabis in New Jersey?

New Jersey has enacted significant legislation regarding cannabis, impacting its medical and recreational use. On February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills into law, fundamentally changing the legal status of marijuana in the state. These laws establish a two-tier framework, delineating regulated cannabis, which is fully legal under specific conditions.

Legal Cannabis in New Jersey

The Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act is pivotal in this transformation. It authorizes the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to not only expand the existing Medicinal Cannabis Program but also to develop, regulate, and enforce rules associated with recreational cannabis for adults aged 21 and over. The Act also mandates state courts and law enforcement to expunge certain cannabis-related offenses.

As part of the legalization, the Personal-Use Cannabis Rules were updated, emphasizing that cannabis and marijuana, while traditionally used interchangeably, now have distinct legal definitions in New Jersey. The state constitution, following the November 2020 election, legally differentiates between “cannabis” and “marijuana.”

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is actively engaging the public to shape the future of the cannabis industry in the state. It has invited public comment on rules to expand the types of ingestible cannabis products, reflecting a comprehensive approach involving experts, stakeholders, and the public.

Under the CREAMM Act, adults 21 years or older are permitted to purchase, carry, and use cannabis. Recreational users can purchase up to the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis. However, personal cultivation of cannabis remains illegal. The governor’s signing of these reform bills marks a historic moment in New Jersey’s approach to cannabis regulation and reflects a broader shift in societal attitudes towards cannabis use.

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