So you heard the news? It is now legal to buy recreational marijuana in New Jersey as an adult.
On the first day of sales, over 12,000 customers purchased nearly $1.9 million worth of recreational cannabis. But what if you don’t live in New Jersey and want to bring it home, is that legal?
We’ve spoken to local law enforcement to give you a clear answer. The short answer is no.
Yes. Any adult 21 and older can purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries in New Jersey. You are also allowed to possess up to six ounces of marijuana in New Jersey. Emphasis on “in New Jersey”. These new laws only apply to adults inside the state of New Jersey. If you leave the state with legal New Jersey weed, you are subject to other state and federal laws.
Here’s a full breakdown of how marijuana laws work in New Jersey.
No, it’s illegal. Very illegal.
Even if you live in New Jersey, you can’t leave the state with your stash. In New Jersey, the law allows licensed businesses to grow and sell cannabis to adult consumers in the state. That’s all you can do with your legal Jersey weed or it becomes illegal.
It is even illegal to bring this legal weed into another legal state., such as New York, under federal law. Remember that cannabis is still not federally legal – some states have opted out of federal law to allow for their state’s legalization, such as New Jersey, California and many other states. But it’s still federally illegal, and crossing state lines with illegal substances can put you at risk of committing a federal crime.
Legal experts, like Marijuana Policy Project lead counsel DeVaughn Ward, warn against leaving New Jersey with that legal weed you just bought.
“While I don’t think the FBI or DEA will be waiting for you at the border or at the Jersey toll road, it is still a crime. I would advise readers not to cross state lines with cannabis , whether by car, train, or automobile. I would hate for anyone to be prosecuted,” Ward said. “The reality is that the federal ban prevents people from traveling between states with cannabis, even s ‘it may have been purchased in one legal state and brought to another legal state.’
Possession of marijuana is decriminalized in Philadelphia. Possessing, smoking or purchasing a “small amount” of marijuana is considered a civil offense in Philadelphia. This means that if you have less than 30 grams of cannabis, you only receive a fine ($25 for possession, $100 for smoking in public) and a written notice. You will not be arrested in Philadelphia for possession of marijuana.
However, traveling across state lines with marijuana may be considered “drug trafficking” in the eyes of the federal government.. Under federal law, trafficking any controlled substance across state lines is a federal crime. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, which makes it highly illegal.
Jasmine Reilly, Public Affairs Officer, Philadelphia Police: “Although cannabis can now be purchased legally in New Jersey, this change in New Jersey state law has no impact in Philadelphia. Crossing state lines with cannabis is still illegal.
Lieutenant Adam Reed, Director of Communications, Pennsylvania State Police: “Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under the current state of Pennsylvania law, a person may be charged by any Pennsylvania law enforcement agency with possession illegal marijuana A person can also be charged with impaired driving for being under the influence of any controlled substance or alcohol Soldiers certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) receive training to recognize the physiological signs of a wide range of controlled substances, including marijuana.The same standardized field sobriety test used for alcohol cases is effective for people under the influence of controlled substances.
Jane Roh, Director of Communications, Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office: “The law change in New Jersey does not immediately impact our policies, but if it affects us upstream through billing [people for possession] depends largely on the police and other law enforcement agencies. The District Attorney’s Office under District Attorney Larry Krasner does not generally prosecute possession of illegal substances for personal use. However, we do prosecute the trafficking of illegal substances, which achieves our prosecution goals in the service of justice and security, because much of the drug supply is now toxic and gun trafficking and gun violence are closely linked to drug trafficking.”
If you are caught crossing state lines and caught with marijuana, you may face a drug trafficking charge. A first offense of drug trafficking, may face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If you are caught again, the prison sentence and the fine are doubled.
You must store your stock in New Jersey or have a place to stay in the state where you can safely consume cannabis products. You cannot return to your state with New Jersey marijuana and you cannot drive under the influence.
Your best bet is to plan ahead. Have a place where you can store your stock or stay and consume marijuana. According to National Institutes of HealthCannabis effects typically last one to three hours, but you can still test positive for a drug test for weeks after initial use.