New Jersey Recreational Cannabis vs. Medical Marijuana
In 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act into law. The legislation dramatically reformed New Jersey’s marijuana laws creating a system for regulation and legalizing cannabis possession and use for adults 21 years of age and older.
This raises an important question: How is recreational marijuana different from medicinal marijuana in New Jersey? Here, the New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Matthew V. Portella with the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, answers the question by highlighting the key things to know about the regulation of recreational cannabis and medical marijuana in state and federal law.
Difference: You Must Qualify for and Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card
All adults 21 years of age and older are permitted to possess and use small amounts of recreational cannabis under New Jersey state law. The maximum allowable amount of recreational cannabis is six ounces per person.
In contrast, a medical marijuana user in New Jersey must qualify for and obtain permission from the state. The New Jersey Division of Marijuana explains that you can only get a medical marijuana card if:
- You are a resident of New Jersey;
- You have a valid relationship with a doctor licensed by the program; and
- You have been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
Similarly: Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana is Illegal
You cannot lawfully operate a motor vehicle in New Jersey while impaired by marijuana — it does not matter if you were prescribed marijuana for a medicinal purpose. Drugged driving is illegal. You can be arrested and charged, your license can be suspended, and you may face other additional penalties.
Difference: As of Early 2022, New Jersey Dispensaries Can Only Sell Medical Marijuana
As noted previously, New Jersey legalized the adult (21+ years old) possession and use of marijuana at the state level last year. However, the state has not authorized its licensed dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana to the public yet.
The Asbury Park Press NJ reports that, as of January of 2022, official marijuana dispensaries in the state are still waiting for authority to sell recreational marijuana. While this is expected to change at some point in the future, it has not happened yet.
Similarly: All Marijuana is Illegal at the Federal Law
Though it has been legalized in a number of different states including New Jersey marijuana is still barred by federal law. While the federal government is largely taking a “hands-off” approach to the matter, you cannot have marijuana on federal property. Federal law makes no distinction between recreational marijuana and medical marijuana.
Call Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney for Immediate Help.
At the Law Office of Matthew V. Portella, LLC, New Jersey criminal defense attorney Matthew V. Portella handles the full range of drug cases. If you have questions about the differences between recreational cannabis and medical marijuana, he can help.
Call today or send us an online message for your confidential, no-obligation consultation. With offices in Haddonfield and Pleasantville, criminal defense lawyer Matthew V. Portella represents people charged with offenses throughout New Jersey, including in Camden County, Atlantic County, Burlington County, Cumberland County, and Salem County.