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Medical cannabis is legal across the majority of the U.S., but recreational marijuana is another story that is just beginning for some states. So far, New Jersey legal weed is proving to have a confusingly hazy storyline. New Jersey recreational marijuana was set to hit the adult-use market this month, but many setbacks are adding a few extra complications to this process.

So did New Jersey legalize weed for adult use? If so, what is the New Jersey cannabis hold up? Is it better to have your medical marijuana card in uncertain times like this? Elevate Holistics is here with an NJ recreational weed update.

NJ Recreational Weed Update

The state planned to open the New Jersey recreational marijuana market in late February of 2022, but now that is unlikely to happen. New Jersey had a self-imposed deadline of February 22 to get its recreational weed ducks in a row. Still, the state doesn’t expect the  Cannabis Regulatory Commission to meet this deadline.

The state set the deadline for six months after the Cannabis Regulatory Commission established necessary rules and regulations regarding the bill. In August, the commission decided to support local entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds by prioritizing multi-state operators in the licensing process.

The commission also plans to give priority to social equity businesses, municipalities disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition, racial minorities, disabled veterans, and other disadvantaged groups.

All of this sounds great, but after the commission implemented these New Jersey legal weed regulations, the state missed a September 2021 deadline to begin accepting new licenses.

After missing the deadline for license administrations, the state didn’t start accepting applications for marijuana growers, processors, and testing labs until December 15. It will likely take many additional months to result in licensure of those facilities.

For now, medical marijuana dispensaries and growers will be the first businesses able to sell New Jersey recreational cannabis to the public. But, they must first certify that they have enough cannabis to meet patient and public demand.

Many medical marijuana operators claim to be stocked up but are just waiting for the go-ahead from the state to begin selling New Jersey recreational marijuana.

On top of that, according to the CRC, more than 63% of New Jersey municipalities have opted out of allowing New Jersey recreational cannabis sales and facilities within their borders.

NJ Cannabis Laws

When did New Jersey legalize weed? In 2010, the state legalized medical marijuana in NJ.

Then a decade later, a New Jersey recreational weed 2020 vote passed legislation, in which NJ residents overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment. The amendment’s effective date was January 1, 2021, but the plant remained illegal to the public until Governor Murphy officially signed legal New Jersey recreational cannabis into law on February 22, 2021.

When will weed be legal in New Jersey for recreational use? State legislation, S-21, which passed in 2020, legalizes personal-use cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older. It also decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana possession and removes marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

This means that minor possession and consumption of New Jersey cannabis is currently legal. However, it is unclear when residents will actually be able to purchase it recreationally. 

The bill also states that they will handle New Jersey recreational cannabis policies in a similar fashion to the regulation of alcohol. Underage residents cannot consume or purchase New Jersey legal weed; if they do, they will face consequences similar to those of drinking alcohol if found guilty of doing so.

Did New Jersey legalize weed to be grown by residents? Lawmakers set criminal penalties in place for manufacturing and distributing marijuana outside of state-licensed retailers and growers. So, NJ residents are not currently able to grow their own weed at home.

Recreational Cannabis States

It’s a hot topic, so what does recreational weed mean? Recreational weed, or adult-use cannabis, is defined as marijuana consumed for enjoyment rather than for health benefits.

But, there is no difference in the makeup of medical vs. recreational marijuana (besides THC levels possibly being higher and CBD levels lower in recreational weed). So recreational marijuana consumers will likely experience the health benefits that marijuana has to offer.

For about half of the U.S. states that have legalized medical marijuana, recreational cannabis for adult use is a reality. States that have legalized recreational marijuana include:

  • New Jersey
  • Colorado 
  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Maine 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Nevada 
  • Michigan 
  • Vermont 
  • Illinois 
  • Montana
  • Arizona
  • New York
  • Virginia
  • New Mexico
  • Connecticut
  • Alaska

Future of New Jersey Cannabis 

So, did New Jersey legalize weed for adult use? Yes, but other rules and regulations have yet to be finalized, communication between the commission and lawmakers seems to be lacking, and municipal approval has also been a challenge. 

Likely, recreational cannabis will only be on the market in about 100 municipalities. Most in South and Central Jersey have passed ordinances allowing New Jersey legal weed dispensaries. But, who knows what the future will hold? With the February 22 deadline expected to be coming and going, an NJ recreational weed update is sure to be coming to residents soon.

Benefits of Having a Medical Marijuana Card

So what can you do to avoid these setbacks in receiving your cannabis medicine? The New Jersey cannabis rollercoaster proves that you can’t always rely on the hope of recreational weed. By having an NJ medical marijuana card, patients can have:

  • Legal protection: Cannabis is still an illegal drug federally; having your medical marijuana card gives you more rights if any complications arise.
  • Lower cannabis costs: Many states have lowered or exempted taxes on weed purchased with a medical marijuana card.
  • Higher possession limits: Medical marijuana cardholders can purchase more weed.
  • Access to medical-only cannabis dispensaries: Medical-only dispensaries exist even in states where recreational cannabis is legal.
  • Access to marijuana in states that allow out-of-state MMJ cards: If you’re traveling out of state, some states will still allow you to buy weed at their dispensaries with an MMJ card.

Learn more about MMJ in NJ by reading our FAQs.

Secure Your Weed Supply with Elevate Holistics 

New Jersey recreational marijuana might not be available for purchase yet, but Elevate Holistics has your back to help you access weed medically. Being an MMJ cardholder is the safe, cost-effective way to go when it comes to buying marijuana – and the process to get one has never been more straightforward.

Elevate Holistics will take you through the process 100% online, connecting you with a certified cannabis physician via video chat for MMJ card approval. Simply choose when you want to have your doctor’s appointment, and we’ll help you the rest of the way. 

Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

About the author

Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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