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NJ Medical Marijuana Laws

Updated on May 5, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

In 2019 New Jersey dramatically reformed its Medicinal Marijuana Program (MMP) and expanded patient access to medical marijuana.

The bill, A20, makes several statutory changes to New Jersey’s MMP.  A number of these were called for in the New Jersey Department of Health’s report that was released in March 2018, pursuant to Executive Order No. 6.  The changes include:

  • Raising the monthly limit from two ounces to three ounces: Currently, medical marijuana patients are limited to receiving two ounces in a 30-day period. The bill raises the limit to three ounces for 18 months, and after that time elapses, the maximum amount will be determined by regulation. Additionally, terminally ill and hospice care patients will not be subject to any monthly limit, effective immediately.
  • Extending the authorization period from 90 days to one year: Currently, patients can only be authorized by a physician to receive up to a 90-day supply and must be re-certified every three months. The bill changes this requirement and authorizes health care practitioners to issue up to a one-year supply, which will help reduce the frequency of these visits and decrease costs for patients.
  • Edibles for adults in addition to minors: Under the prior law, edibles were only authorized for patients who are minors. This bill allows edibles to be dispensed to adult patients as well.
  • Phase-out of sales tax: Unlike most forms of medicine, medical marijuana is currently subject to the sales tax. The bill phases out the sales tax over three years.  It goes down to 4 percent in July 2020, 2 percent in July 2021, and is eliminated entirely in July 2022.
  • Allowing physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to authorize medical marijuana:  Under the prior law, only physicians could authorize the use of medical marijuana for patients. This bill allows physician assistants and advanced practice nurses to also authorize medical marijuana treatments, making medical marijuana more accessible to patients.
  • Employment protections for patients: The bill prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions against employees solely based on their status as medical marijuana patients. The bill clarifies that nothing in the law requires employers to allow the consumption of medical marijuana during work hours or do anything that could result in the loss of federal funding.
  • Multiple caregivers per patient: The bill authorizes patients to have two designated caregivers at once. Designated caregivers can obtain medical marijuana for a patient.
  • Reciprocity with other states’ medical marijuana programs: Individuals who are registered as qualifying patients in other states can be considered qualifying patients in New Jersey for a period of up to six months. During that time, they can possess and use medical marijuana, and can obtain medical marijuana if they get authorization from a health care practitioner in New Jersey based on a qualifying condition.
  • Price lists for dispensaries: Dispensaries will be required to post on their websites a price list that applies to all medical marijuana products and cannot deviate from those prices. These price lists cannot be revised more than once a month. Transparency around pricing will promote competition and help lower prices for patients.
  • Home delivery: The bill authorizes the adoption of regulations to enable dispensaries to deliver medical marijuana to patients, which will improve patient access.
  • Creation of a Cannabis Regulatory Commission: The bill creates a Cannabis Regulatory Commission in but not of the Department of the Treasury to assume responsibility over the medical marijuana program. The Commission consists of five members appointed by the Governor, with one each upon the recommendation of the Senate President and the Speaker. The initial three appointments made solely by the Governor are direct appointments serving terms of three, four, and five years, and subsequently are subject to advice and consent.

Possession for Personal Use

Recently, many states have experienced a trend toward leniency for the simple possession of marijuana without the intent to distribute, and New Jersey is no exception. 

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Offense

Penalty

Incarceration

Max. Fine

Possession

50 g. or less

Disorderly Person

6 months

$1,000

50 g. or more

Felony

1.5 years

$25,000

Within 1000 feet of a school adds 100 hours of community service, as well as an additional fine.

Distribution

Less than 1 oz.

Felony

1.5 years

$25,000

1 oz. to 5lbs.

Felony

*3-5 years

$25,000

5 lbs to 25 lbs.

Felony

*5-10 years

$150,000

25 lbs. or more

Felony

*10-20 years

$300,000

Within 1000 feet of a school or school bus.

Felony

*3-5 years

$150,000

Includes possession with the intent to distribute.
To minors or pregnant women carries a double term of imprisonment and fine.
* Mandatory minimum sentence.

Cultivation

1 oz. – 5 lbs. (Less than 10 plants)

Felony

*3-5 years

$25,000

5 lbs. – 25 lbs. (10 plants – 49 plants)

Felony

*5-10 years

$150,000

More than 25 lbs. (50 plants or more)

Felony

*10-20 years

$300,000

* Mandatory minimum sentence.

Hash & Concentrates

Possession

Disorderly Person

6 months

$1,000

Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of less than 5 g.

Crime in the fourth degree.

18 months

$10,000

Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 5 g. – 1 lb.

Crime in the third degree.

5 years

$15,000

Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 1 lb. – 5 lbs.

Crime in the second degree.

10 years

$150,000

Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent of 5 lbs. or more.

Crime in the first degree.

20 years

$200,000

Paraphernalia

Possession or use of paraphernalia.

Disorderly Person

6 months

$1,000

Sale of paraphernalia.

Felony

*3-5 years

$15,000

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