Prior to February 2021, only medical marijuana was legal in New Jersey. Fortunately, the story has changed because Gov. Phil Murphy has signed three bills that have now legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes for adults who are 21 years and above in New Jersey. In essence, the State has taken its spot on the list of states that have officially decriminalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

However, you need to know that the laws that regulate cannabis in New Jersey still vary depending on whether you consume the product for medical or recreational purposes. To make it easier to understand the distinction, let us briefly break down the provisions of the laws. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect when visiting the Garden State.

medical marijuana in New Jersey
Medical Marijuana in New Jersey

Cannabis Laws in New Jersey

For recreational use of weed in New Jersey, anyone who is 21 years or older can legally possess weed not more than six ounces or 17 grams of hash. In addition, the relevant law – the Marijuana Legalization Amendment – also provides that an applicable tax rate of 6.625% applies to purchases of recreational cannabis. 

However, municipalities cannot impose an additional tax exceeding 2%. Even though the state decriminalized weed consumption in New Jersey for recreational purposes, there are still no licensed recreational cannabis dispensaries in the state, either. But, NJ has started working on establishing the necessary framework for licensing the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. So, you cannot currently buy recreational weed from any dispensary in New Jersey; however, residents still have their fingers crossed.

Understanding Medical Marijuana in New Jersey

Nonetheless, the laws are different when it comes to the regulation of medical marijuana in New Jersey. The Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act governs the use of medical marijuana in New Jersey. Under this law, registered patients with certain qualifying medical conditions can purchase medical cannabis in the State. Generally, this is available to adults who are 18 years or older, although there are cases when those younger than 18 can purchase medical cannabis. You just need parental and medical approval, first.

Another provision of the law related to medical cannabis is that the sales tax rate is 4% for the purchase of medical marijuana. While this may seem a bit high, compared to other legalized states, this rate is quite average.

NJ also clarified that the maximum amount of cannabis which patients or caregivers are allowed to purchase is 3 ounces monthly. However, if the patient is terminally ill or on hospice care and requires a higher dosage, no monthly limit applies. When purchasing, you have to make sure you stick to these guidelines.

In addition, patients' consumption of medical marijuana is allowed only when they are in their homes and not in public places. However, some licensed medical cannabis dispensaries have designated areas where patients can consume cannabis.

Finally, the law currently does not allow patients or caregivers to cultivate cannabis plants. Doing so is a severe offense that could attract as much as a 5-year sentence. Just don't do it.

Why Do You Need a New Jersey MMJ Card?

There are many perks for those with a medical marijuana card (MMJ Card) in New Jersey. Some of these benefits include:

If you have an MMJ card, you can legally buy marijuana from Alternative Treatment Centers licensed by the State. Furthermore, MMJ cards protect you by law, preventing law enforcement from charging you with possession of cannabis (as long as you follow possession limits, that is). 

It’s also important to note that employers in New Jersey cannot take adverse measures against MMJ cardholders whose possession of cannabis is simply because of their medical conditions. It is only if the employee is actively high or smoking on the job that employers can take legal actions. 

Purchase At a Lower Cost

The costs of purchasing marijuana monthly can be high because some states charge a higher tax on it. This increases the retail price overall. However, those who hold MMJ cards can buy cannabis at lower costs in New Jersey. This is good news if you regularly have to use medical marijuana. In fact, New Jersey Treasury Division has published a schedule that seeks to reduce taxation to 0% by July 1, 2022. Some dispensaries also give discounts to patients with MMJ cards. 

Higher Dosage

With your medical marijuana card, you can get higher dosages if it is necessary for your treatment. Most dispensaries in New Jersey sell only in quarter-ounce doses. But, the MMJ card makes it easier to get from the dispensary if you require a higher amount for your medical condition.

Relaxed Rules on Age Restriction

As already mentioned earlier, only those who are 18 years and above are allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes. However, people who are not 18 may have medical conditions requiring them to use marijuana to alleviate symptoms of their conditions. This is where an MMJ card becomes handy because underaged MMJ cardholders can purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries; although, an adult must accompany the underaged.

Easier to Access

Without an MMJ card, you would have to go to a doctor each time you need to use cannabis to alleviate the symptoms of your medical condition. This takes your time and can also be more expensive in the long run. If you have your MMJ card in New Jersey, you can simply walk into any licensed dispensary to purchase your required dosage. How much easier can it get?

Medical Marijuana in New Jersey: How the Market is Doing

With a population of over 8 million residents, there are currently around 104,000 Medical Marijuana patients in New Jersey in 2021 and just 13 medical cannabis dispensaries providing services to these registered medical marijuana patients. The number of cannabis dispensaries will likely increase with the recent decriminalization of recreational cannabis in the state. 

One of the best ways to be attended to faster in some dispensaries is to have your MMJ card rather than going with just a prescription. In addition, the tax revenues generated from the sale of medical cannabis are relatively small, and the state does not currently specify how New Jersey uses the tax money.

Elevate Holistics and Medical Cannabis in New Jersey

The process of getting an MMJ card may look a little bit stressful, but it really does not have to be — especially with Elevate Holistics. At Elevate, we have a platform that is so easy to use, and you’ll get the hang of it even if you just bought your first computer. You can speak with one of our experienced medical marijuana doctors right away and begin the process of getting your MMJ card and finally enjoying medical marijuana in New Jersey.  Contact us today and let us take the stress off you.

Check out our other articles regarding New Jersey and medical cannabis laws: New Jersey Marijuana and Gun Laws & The New Jersey Caregiver Process