Marijuana Use and the Law in New Jersey

Over recent decades, cannabis has been a hot topic across the United States. In 2021, Governor Murphy signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act into law. This law legalized cannabis possession for some New Jersey citizens and decriminalized possession of both marijuana and hashish. This sweeping change has left some confused about what the legalization of cannabis means for New Jersey, particularly as it relates to certain pockets of the population and within certain parts of the state. Read on to learn more about legal marijuana possession and use in New Jersey, the conflicting nature of federal law on this subject, and how these interplay in criminal cases involving cannabis still today.

How Old Must You Be to Use Marijuana in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act legalized cannabis use for people 21 years old and older. An adult can legally possess up to six ounces of marijuana. It is still illegal to be in possession of marijuana, hashish, or any associated products before the age of 21, though the severity of such illegal possession has been decriminalized under the law.

Marijuana Restrictions within a Military Facility

While New Jersey state law makes recreational marijuana legal, it is still considered illegal under federal law. All members of the military are subject to this federal standard, and marijuana use is prohibited for all members of the military. This includes medical marijuana use, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis for medical purposes.

Policies Regarding Drug Testing and Investigations While in the Military

Military personnel do undergo substance testing at regular and random intervals. Regardless of cannabis’s legality in New Jersey, military personnel serving in the state need not concern themselves with its legality here, and refrain completely.

Does Marijuana Legality Vary in National Parks?

National parks follow federal law, and as such, marijuana possession and use remains illegal. New Jersey citizens who enjoy the legality of marijuana under state law must take care to respect federal law while on its national parks such as the Gateway National Recreation Area, Morristown National Historical Park, and the Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River.

Penalties for Marijuana Offenses on Federal Government Property

Possession of marijuana on federal land can result in serious penalties, including up to a year in federal prison for a first offense, as well as up to $1,000 in fines; and up to two years for a second offense, with heightened fines to pay. These crimes are severe enough, but if you are caught selling marijuana on federal land, the penalties you face increase substantially. The sale of fewer than 50kg may result in up to five years in federal prison and as much as $250,000 in fines. Selling to a minor doubles the penalties.

Importance of Knowing the Specific Regulations for Each Park or Outdoor Grounds

While one may be tempted to assume that because marijuana use was made legal in the state of New Jersey in 2021, they can enjoy open access, this is not the case. First of all, private property owners can determine whether they allow marijuana use on their property, and those who disrespect their wishes are subject to penalties. Additionally, New Jersey state parks and U.S. federal parks abide by different laws in terms of cannabis possession and use, so while it may be safe to use marijuana in one park, it could land you in jail in another. It is your duty as a responsible citizen to review the jurisdiction of each park and outdoor property before considering using a cannabis product there.

Talk to a Marijuana Attorney in New Jersey

Because recreational cannabis use is a new and emerging area of legality in the state of New Jersey, some precedents have not yet been set regarding its use. Additionally, due to overlapping state and federal laws based on jurisdiction, the law can get murky. For these reasons and more, it is important to have the skilled guidance of a cannabis defense attorney if you have been charged with illegal possession, sale or intent to distribute, selling marijuana to a minor, growing marijuana, or maintaining a CDS production facility. Contact 973-524-7238 for a free consultation with a New Jersey lawyer who has kept a pulse on the emerging area of recreational cannabis laws across the United States, as well as federal opposition to sweeping measures of legality.

Having successfully represented hundreds of clients charged with cannabis offenses in Florham Park, Parsippany, Randolph, Morristown, Denville, Parsippany, Rockaway, Hanover, Chatham, Madison, Dover, and other towns in the Morris County area, we provide zealous defense against all manner of marijuana charges. Contact us today for immediate assistance regarding your marijuana case.