Although the federal government still categorizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug and prohibits both medicinal and recreational use, many states across the country have fewer restrictions on this drug. New Jersey has a medical marijuana program that allows possession and use of the drug to treat certain approved conditions. However, possessing or selling marijuana outside of the legal medical marijuana program may have severe consequences and penalties.
The New Jersey Department of Health website lists the medical conditions that may qualify a patient to participate in the state’s medical marijuana program. Some of the approved debilitating conditions include chronic pain, anxiety, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and PTSD. Cancer, epilepsy and migraines are other conditions that may qualify a person to purchase and use medical marijuana. Patients who have a diagnosis for one of the approved conditions may be able to get a prescription for cannabis treatments. The current law does not allow patients to grow their own marijuana plants, but they may purchase medical marijuana from state-approved Alternative Treatment Centers.
Although a recreational marijuana legalization measure may appear on state ballots in 2020, current New Jersey law strictly prohibits recreational marijuana possession and use. FindLaw indicates that there are different penalties for possession based on the amount of marijuana a person has. Additionally, the state has mandatory minimum sentences for marijuana-related convictions. Individuals who get a conviction for possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana may have to spend 6 months in jail and pay a $1,000 fine. Possessing over 50 grams of marijuana is a felony in New Jersey. The penalties for conviction may include a $25,000 fine and up to 18 months in jail. Convictions for selling marijuana may lead to years in jail and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.