New Jersey and Pennsylvania share borders, bridges, and sometimes even their love for certain professional sports teams but they have very different laws with regards to marijuana (cannabis). While the illegal possession of marijuana isn’t as nearly as serious as the illegal possession of a handgun, it is still can be a felony in some cases. This blog brings to together the most common questions that we receive about marijuana in both states.
New Jersey & Marijuana
New Jersey, like many states (but NOT Pennsylvania) has legalized the still Scheduled I drug Marijuana (Cannabis). The State’s Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMM), permits the legal sale and use of cannabis and cannabis products for residents and non-residents. These are the top questions regarding the new law in New Jersey.
Who can purchase Marijuana in New Jersey?
Answer: Anyone in New Jersey can purchase Marijuana, this includes residents and visitors twenty-one (21) years of age or older.
- Where can a person purchase Marijuana in New Jersey?
Answer: A person can purchase at any New Jersey licensed cannabis dispensary. The State has a website, which lists all of the licensed dispensaries in the Garden State. Our criminal defense law firm services all of these counties, which include, Camden, Atlantic, Gloucester, Burlington and Cumberland County.
- What forms of Marijuana can a person purchase from a licensed dispensary in New Jersey?
Answer: Each dispensary is permitted to sell up to 1oz. of cannabis or the equivalent of 1 oz. of the drug. Here are the most common transactions:
- 1oz of dried flower
- 5 grams of concentrate or concentrated solution-these include resins, oils, or other forms of liquid
- 1000 milligrams of ingestible (ten 100 milligram packets)-the most common form are gummies
- The following combinations are often very common – half ounce of dried flower, plus 2.5 oz of concentrate of five (5) packages of gummies and a half ounce of dried flower.
- What are the legal categories of Marijuana in New Jersey?
- Dried flower
- Concentrated oils
- Vape formulas
- Soft chews
Dispensaries are not permitted to sell edibles like cookies or brownies, but obviously people can make their own with the product. New Jersey allows anyone over the age of twenty-one (21) years of age or older to be in possession of 1 oz. of cannabis and cannabis products.
- What is the cost of Marijuana in New Jersey?
Answer: Prices will vary by location and product. All transactions are subject to New Jersey’s sales tax (6.625%), plus social equity excise fee.
- Where can a person use Marijuana in New Jersey?
Answer: A person may smoke in private places; however, a landlord may prohibit cannabis on their property.
- Can I cross state lines with Marijuana purchased from New Jersey?
Answer: No. It is Illegal to transport cannabis across State lines.
- Can I give a friend Marijuana as a gift in New Jersey?
Answer: Yes. A person may gift up to 1 oz. of cannabis to another who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older. A person, however, may not sell cannabis to another or accept any payment in exchange for cannabis in New Jersey.
- Is it illegal to drive while high on cannabis in New Jersey?
Answer: It is illegal to drive while under the influence of Marijuana. The laws regarding driving while impaired or intoxicated apply when a person is under the influence of cannabis.
Please remember that Pennsylvania and New Jersey have very different laws regarding Marijuana. In the Pennsylvania, you can only obtain Medical Marijuana proscribed from a doctor. The Commonwealth does not permit recreational use of Marijuana.
Pennsylvania & Marijuana – Medicinal NOT Recreational
Many of our clients and their families assume that Pennsylvania has legalized marijuana, just like New Jersey. This, however, is not correct and flat out wrong, wrong, and wrong! While Pennsylvania has created a medical marijuana program, the drug itself, without a prescription from a certified doctor is still illegal within the Commonwealth.
What are the penalties for Possession of Marijuana in Pennsylvania?
The severity of a crime involving marijuana in the Commonwealth depends on the circumstances surrounding it. For example, the possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is an ungraded misdemeanor and a violator is subject to a maximum of thirty (30) days of jail and a $500 fine. The illegal possession of more then 30 grams is an ungraded misdemeanor with a max of one-year of State incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
What are the penalties for possession with the intent to sell or distribute Marijuana in Pennsylvania?
The sale or distribution or possession with the intent to sell or distribute more then 30 grams of marijuana is an ungraded felony and subject to 2½ to five (5) years in a state prison and a $15,000 fine. Thirty (30) grams or less (about one (1) ounce) for no remuneration is an ungraded misdemeanor subject to a maximum of thirty (30) days in county jail and a $500 fine. The fines and criminal consequences are similar to hash and concentrates.
What are the penalties for possession with Marijuana paraphernalia in Pennsylvania and growing your own Marijuana?
The possession of drug paraphernalia or a sale of paraphernalia is an ungraded misdemeanor with a maximum of 6-12 months of incarceration and a $2,500 fine. Finally, it is a felony to cultivate or grow any number of marijuana plants. An offender is subject to 2½ to five (5) years of State incarceration and a $15,000 fine. It is important to keep in mind that any sale or distribution to a minor by anyone over the age of twenty-one (21) is a felony and the criminal penalties are doubled upon conviction.
While first time offenders are eligible for various alternative programs such as Accelerated Rehabilitated Disposition (ARD), Section 17, and even conditional withdrawals, a second or subsequent drug conviction subjects an offender eligible to double penalties.
Does Pennsylvania have a medical marijuana program?
Yes. Pennsylvania instituted a medical marijuana program because the Commonwealth, like New Jersey, found that it was useful to treat various conditions and disorders which included general pain relief, Glaucoma and movement disorders. There is also research to suggest that the drug may protect the body against some type of tumors and it is neuroprotective.
You just can’t go to any doctor if you would like to treat with medical marijuana. In Pennsylvania, physicians must complete a required 4-hour training provided by a Department of Health approved training entity.
How are cities and towns in Pennsylvania, like Philadelphia, handling Marijuana offenses. Is Marijuana still illegal in Pennsylvania?
While the Commonwealth still makes the use and possession of marijuana a crime, local governments including Philadelphia, Doylestown, Norristown, Phoenixville, State College, West Norriton, York, Pittsburg, Harrisburg, and Bethlehem have all instituted Ordinances, which allow for fines instead of criminal prosecutions where the quantity possessed is thirty (30) grams or less (about one (1) ounce).
It is important to understand that these local ordinances do not supersede the State law, but these local governments have chosen not to enforce State law within their local boundaries. Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws are all still valid and possession and possession with the intent to distribute is still misdemeanor or felony crime. Unlike New Jersey, a person cannot legally purchase the drug without a prescription from a doctor.
Contact Our Marijuana Criminal Defense Lawyers in PA & NJ
Please click here to contact our Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers. We offer free case reviews and serve the following areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Atlantic City, Camden, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Philadelphia, Pottstown, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Merion, Upper Providence, Vineland & Woodbury areas.