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Weed Now Legal in New Jersey, New Yorkers Cannot Cross State Lines With It

by Jo Ellen Nott

You can buy marijuana legally in New Jersey as of Thursday, April 21, 2022, one day after “World Weed Day.” Governor Phil Murphy signed into law three bills defining the recreational cannabis industry, legalized cannabis use, and decriminalized possession. New Jersey residents now know where they can smoke weed, where they can grow it, and how it will be policed.

Voters had approved a referendum in November 2020, but it was not until the third week of April 2022 that the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission established the ground rules for the first legal sales of adult-use, recreational cannabis. On Monday of that week, seven companies and their respective medical marijuana dispensaries got the green light to sell their products to all adults.

New Yorkers can also now legally purchase marijuana in New Jersey but are not allowed to bring it across state lines. It is unclear if New York has any plan to enforce the prohibition against transporting it. New Yorkers 21 years of age or older can legally possess up to three ounces of weed and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use within the state. Smoking and vaping cannabis is also allowed wherever smoking is allowed.

In 2021 former Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law the recreational use by adults of cannabis, but it is not yet available at stores. In the first weeks of April 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul granted 52 cannabis cultivator licenses, the first of their kind. The legalization of adults’ growing and buying cannabis in New York is expected to create between 19,000 and 24,000 jobs over the next three years in New York City and legal adult-use cannabis alone will generate at least $1.3 billion in its first year. Governor Hochul promoted a campaign of public service advertisements on “4/20” to educate New Yorkers about the safety risks of using marijuana and how to mitigate them.

Ben Kovler, CEO of Green Thumb Industries which operates marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey, compared the legalization of marijuana in the state to the end of the liquor prohibition in 1933. Kovler estimated that legalization of cannabis could eventually become a $3 billion industry for the second state on the East Coast to begin adult-use sales. He also pointed out the futility of the war on drugs calling it a “failure for people of color.”  


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