New Jerseyans and Garden State visitors who are 21 and older can legally purchase marijuana in New Jersey as of today, but they may have to wait in long lines to get their weed.
“We expect 13 locations for the entire state will make for extremely busy stores,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission—the state entity that regulates cannabis products.
Recreational cannabis and cannabis products for now are available at just 13 dispensaries across New Jersey that already have been serving registrants in the state’s Medicinal Cannabis Program. Five of those dispensaries are in North Jersey in Bloomfield, Maplewood, Paterson, Phillipsburg and Rochelle Park.
“The dispensaries have assured us that they are ready to meet the demand without disrupting patient access, and with minimal impact on the surrounding communities, but patience will be key to a good opening day,” Brown said.
Rules, Advice, Cautionary Words
Brown outlined rules, advice, and words of caution for recreational cannabis consumers in New Jersey.
Those seeking to purchase recreational cannabis will be able to buy up to 1 ounce of dried flower or up to 5 grams of concentrates, resins, or oils or 10 100 mg packages of ingestible items in a single transaction.
“We encourage everyone to be safe – buy only from licensed dispensaries and start low and go slow. Remember that the laws against impaired driving apply to being high,” Brown said.
How It Works, How It’s Taxed
New Jerseyans can only purchase or possess up to one ounce of weed. The cost of one ounce in New Jersey ranged between $320 and $480 in 2021, according to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Recreational cannabis is subject to New Jersey’s state sales tax of 6.625%, but municipalities have the option to tack on a 2% local tax to cannabis sales, according to an April 11 analysis by the Federation of Tax Administrators.
Patients enrolled in New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program will no longer pay sales taxes on their purchases beginning in July 2022.
It remains illegal for New Jersey residents to grow their own cannabis.
Handle With Care
New Jersey now joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing the use of recreational cannabis. Some 39 states allow the use of medicinal cannabis.
Brown noted that it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines.
Additionally, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission reminded New Jerseyans:
- to store legal cannabis products securely and out of the reach of children;
- to not buy or possess more than one ounce at any time; and
- to call NJ Poison Center at 800-222-1222 if you are concerned you may have ingested or used too much.
In or Out?
In February 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation legalizing marijuana. The measure came with a six-month deadline for municipalities to decide whether they wanted to opt into or out of the cannabis industry.
Roughly 29% of New Jersey’s municipalities now permit some element of the cannabis industry, according to a USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey analysis of municipal ordinances.
Among the North Jersey municipalities that have approved retail cannabis businesses are Hoboken, Jersey City, Montclair, Newark, Hackensack, and Teaneck Township.
Murphy tweeted earlier this month: “Starting on April 21st, adults ages 21+ will be able to legally purchase cannabis and cannabis products without a medical card. This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry.”
Access to Medicinal Cannabis
New Jersey state regulators have implemented rules for dispensaries to ensure that sales of recreational cannabis products do not harm access to medicinal cannabis or cause long lines for registrants in the state’s Medicinal Cannabis Program.
Facilities are expected to implement special lines or hours, online ordering, curbside pick-up, or home delivery to ensure patient access is uninterrupted, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission said in a press release.