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New Jersey Cannabis Laws: What’s Allowed and What’s Illegal

In continuing our series on how various states are dealing with cannabis regulation, we will now look at New Jersey.

What Forms of Cannabis Use Are Allowed in New Jersey?

As of 2021, it is legal for all adults over the age of 21 years old to possess and use cannabis recreationally in the state of New Jersey. Included in the bill passed this year, there were also guidelines for the processing, cultivation and sale of cannabis. However, there are strict rules dealing with each of these practices, which we will review below.


The question of how much cannabis a person can legally possess needs to be closely examined.

Cannabis stores which have been licensed through the state can sell as much as one ounce per customer. This differs from the amount an individual can legally possess, which is up to six ounces.

Further complicating the issue of possession, is that legal adults may give or “gift” another legal adult up to one ounce of cannabis.

Additionally, the laws specify that these amounts relate to six ounces of flower OR five grams of resin, NOT both.


Those that are living in an apartment or building that they do not own should know that landlords and building owners can legally dictate whether or not their tenants can smoke marijuana in their building. That being said, landlords are not allowed to ban their tenants from using and possessing edibles in said residence. Rather, landlords can only ban the “combustion and vaporization of cannabis products.”

Work and Employment

It is still legal to enact a “drug-free workplace.” However it is illegal for employers to discriminate against cannabis consumers in their off-hours. Employers can continue to drug test employees prior to employment, randomly, or with reasonable suspicion. So, it is a good idea to thoroughly research the job you are applying for to ensure that you will not have issues related to cannabis use.


It is illegal to grow cannabis in New Jersey without a commercial license.


Language in New Jersey laws outlaw possession of paraphernalia for “other drugs” but allow an exception: ”...other than when used, or possessed with intent to use for ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing marijuana or hashish into the human body.”

Therefore, paraphernalia related explicitly to cannabis use is legal.

What are the Penalties for Illegal Cannabis Use and Possession in New Jersey?

Because cannabis is now recreational in New Jersey, the penalties mainly apply to cannabis DUI and illegal cultivation.

A DUI is penalized based on the number of offenses. For a first offense, the person may be imprisoned for up to 30 days and a fine up to 400.00$. A second offense will result in a jail sentence of up to 90 days and a fine as high as 1000.00$. On a third offense, the individual will lose their license, face up to 6 months in jail, as well as a 1000.00$ fine.

Specific penalties for illegal cultivation of cannabis are enforced based on the weight of cannabis grown (specifics are noted in state acts linked below).

Bottom Line

The rules and regulations for cannabis in New Jersey are quite new. At this point, it is legal for an adult, aged 21 and older to possess and use cannabis recreationally, with the exceptions outlined above and in the state laws. There will likely be new interpretations and changes as time goes by, so it is always a good idea to do some further research on specific questions you may have by referring to the state acts, which are posted below.

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