Marijuana now legal for adult use in the state of New Jersey

New Jersey legal marijuana market now voter-approved and set into motion under new legislation

Lauren Noble, Assistant Editor, News Desk

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill on February 22 legalizing the recreational usage of marijuana for residents over the age of 21, making New Jersey the 13th state to do so. Additionally, the bill includes a stipulation for minors, which states that the consequences of being caught have been mitigated.

While the legal sale of marijuana is yet to be instituted, Murphy said that “Starting immediately, those who had been subject to an arrest for petty marijuana possession — an arrest that may have kept them from a job or the opportunity to further their education — will be able to get relief and move forward.” 

Regardless of the law taking effect immediately, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission is required to set up rules and issue licenses. Additionally, according to, existing medical marijuana dispensaries must ensure an ability to produce enough marijuana for the state’s medical weed patients as well as a surplus for those ages 21 and over. The distribution of recreational marijuana is expected to take months, due to the harvest of growing new marijuana taking 3 to four months, but is foreseen to be implemented before the end of 2021.

“Some supporters saw Monday’s bill signing as the symbolic turning point after an era of racial disparities in enforcement,” according to an article by the New York Times. “Black New Jersey residents were more than three times as likely as white residents to be charged with marijuana possession, despite similar rates of usage.”

Pertaining to minors, a three-part plan of action has been implemented for those caught with marijuana. Upon the first offense, an offender would receive a written warning. Law enforcement is strictly prohibited from notifying parents or guardians of the offender and can be charged if done so. “The second offense is a written warning along with information on drug treatment services,” stated NBC New York. “Police must provide a copy of the second warning to those under 18, along with a notice about the first offense as well. The third offense carries a written warning again along with a referral to drug treatment services. Parents and guardians would also be notified of a third warning.”

Governor Murphy’s legislation decriminalizes possession of up to six ounces of marijuana for those 21 and over. Growing marijuana plants at home is still illegal. A bill introduced last month by Senator Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen, would allow residents to grow up to six plants at home, but has been left out of Murphy’s final legislation.