Marijuana Dispensaries in New Jersey
Marijuana Dispensaries in New Jersey
Visiting a New Jersey dispensary
Long stuck in New York’s shadow, New Jersey recently took the spotlight by voting in overwhelming support of legalizing cannabis for recreational use. After years and years tied up in the state legislature, the referendum for adult-use weed finally passed, and New Jersey became one of a small handful of East Coast states to bring its outdated cannabis law into the 21st century.
Still, New Jersey’s cannabis laws are relatively new, and you might not know the rules and regulations for visiting a New Jersey dispensary — medical or recreational. Here’s more information about the current status of cannabis in the Garden State.
Cannabis laws to know in New Jersey
Technically, cannabis is legal both recreationally and medically in New Jersey, but it isn’t necessarily available to everyone as yet. New Jersey created a medical marijuana program in 2010, but it remained among the strictest and least accessible medical marijuana programs in the country until 2018 when the legislature expanded qualifying conditions and permitted the creation of private, for-profit New Jersey medical marijuana dispensaries. Then, in 2020, after the legislature was unable to agree about recreational legalization, voters demanded the creation of a regulated market for adult-use cannabis — and that market is still in the development stages today.
New Jersey’s recreational cannabis laws
Currently, New Jersey has decriminalized the possession of up to six ounces of cannabis flower and up to 17 grams of hashish by adults over 21 years — and that’s New Jersey’s cannabis law as it stands. Frustratingly, the referendum “legalizing” recreational cannabis did not include a structure for the new market, which means the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is responsible for developing the rules and regulations for retail dispensaries. Experts do not expect New Jerseyans or visitors to be able to buy cannabis in the Garden State until 2022, and home cultivation will likely remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
New Jersey’s medical marijuana laws
Fortunately, New Jersey has recently worked to revamp its medical marijuana program, ensuring that cannabis treatment is much more accessible to patients who need it. Under New Jersey law, any patient suffering from a qualifying condition can register with the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program (NJMMP) and legally enter a New Jersey dispensary to buy flower, oil, oral lozenges, or cannabis topicals. Most registered patients are allowed to purchase up to three ounces per month, but terminally ill patients have no monthly limit. New Jersey does allow visiting medical marijuana patients to use out-of-state cards to make purchases from dispensaries.
How to get a medical marijuana card in New Jersey
Before recreational cannabis laws are refined, the only way to visit a New Jersey dispensary is with a valid NJMMP card. The first step for patients interested in obtaining a card is a diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition from a physician. Next, patients need to register with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH), which includes uploading a photograph, copy of identification, and proof of New Jersey residency. Applicants must pay a $100 registration fee. After the NJMMP reviews a patient’s application, they will be issued a card for use in New Jersey dispensaries upon acceptance.
Where is it legal to consume cannabis in New Jersey?
Consumption of cannabis in New Jersey is firmly restricted to private spaces, away from public view. Though the Cannabis Regulatory Commission might clarify consumption laws for recreational cannabis, currently, qualified consumers should be careful to use cannabis products inside their homes or with express permission from property owners. Some New Jersey dispensaries do have spaces for on-site consumption, but customers should always ask budtenders before partaking in the store.
How to buy cannabis at a New Jersey dispensary
New Jersey dispensaries are not subject to specific hours of operation, but most are open between 10AM and 6PM. Until recreational dispensaries open, all New Jersey dispensary visitors must have their valid NJMMP cards on hand to enter and make purchases. Thanks to the 2018 expansion of medical marijuana rules, customers can order cannabis online for curbside pickup or home delivery, which makes access to cannabis products much safer and more convenient.
How much does cannabis cost in New Jersey?
It is possible that the emergence of a recreational market in New Jersey will alter cannabis prices. For now, the average cost of a gram of dry flower in a New Jersey dispensary is about $13.
Cannabis taxes in New Jersey
Though recreational cannabis is not yet available for purchase in New Jersey, when it does go on sale, it will be subject to the state’s sales tax rate of 6.625%. Additionally, local municipalities would be allowed to impose an additional 2% sales tax on cannabis sales, if they so choose. Meanwhile, medical marijuana patients pay 4% sales tax on their cannabis treatment, but that tax is planned to be eliminated by 2022. As yet, tax revenues are so small that New Jersey doesn’t specify how it utilizes cannabis-specific taxes, but the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is likely to determine appropriate programs later this year.