In recent years, state laws throughout the country regarding the use, growth and distribution of marijuana have undergone drastic changes. As large portions of the nation have become more comfortable with cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes, many states have also shown a trend toward legalization.
The process of legalization has been relatively slow. However, there has been an increase in momentum over the last few years. After the 2016 election cycle, over half of the states in the nation and the District of Columbia have some form of medical marijuana program and eight states and the District of Columbia passed recreational use legislation. Similar legislation is currently being considered in New Jersey.
Potential policy changes
The state of New Jersey has had a medical marijuana program since 2010. However, marijuana for recreational use has been strictly prohibited. Senator Nicholas Scutari has said that he will be putting forth a bill in the legislature that would legalize the sale and possession of cannabis for recreational purposes.
While this type of legislation has been successfully implemented and regulated in states such as Colorado and Washington, New Jersey law makers as a whole have been reluctant or opposed to full legalization measures. Regardless of potential changes, currently marijuana may only be used in New Jersey for medical purposes.
Medical marijuana use in New Jersey
The state laws regulating the use of medical marijuana in New Jersey are outlined in the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.Under this act, patients who have qualifying conditions are able to register with the New Jersey Department of Health in order to use marijuana as part of their doctor-sanctioned treatment. Some qualifying conditions include,
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Crohn's disease
Additionally, if a doctor determines that a patient's condition is terminal and will likely result in death within 12 months, that condition may also qualify. Once approved by the state's department of health, a patient may purchase marijuana from a state-licensed dispensary and is allowed to possess up to two ounces of marijuana each month.
Due to the number and frequency of changes being made to the state's existing marijuana laws, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on all current regulations. Consequently, a marijuana-related criminal charge can have a serious impact on a person's life. If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where you are facing a drug-related charge, it is wise to obtain the services of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense professional.