When discussing anything people feel strongly and passionate about in our legal system, marijuana reform tends to be one of the most common topics. Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are countless reasons why marijuana should be completely legal.

For starters, you have the unjust criminalization of marijuana and people whose lives have been devastated: the potential profit and job growth from a new industry. Plus, the pure science behind the innocence of cannabis as a whole.

No matter how you look it, people want change in the marijuana industry, and rightfully so. Of the states gradually moving in the right direction with marijuana, New Jersey is often brought up.

Considering the vast history of New Jersey and the criminalization of marijuana, it’s interesting to see where the state could potentially land moving forward in the subject.

Today, New Jersey isn’t much further along than they’ve ever been with marijuana’s legality. Still, they have made some small steps forward in the right direction. Nonetheless, for those of you interested in marijuana in New Jersey, look no further. We’re going to discuss everything you’ll need to know about the state regarding cannabis. We’ll discuss tops such as the criminalization, medical use, reform, unsuccessful reforms, and much more. Let’s get started!

Criminalization of Marijuana in New Jersey

Unfortunately, New Jersey has always had a significant issue with arrests and the criminalization of marijuana. Like many states and the birth of the war on drugs, New Jersey is very harsh on anything in this realm. At least, in recent memory, they certainly were. For example, in 2013 alone, New Jersey police made over 24,000 arrests for tiny amounts of marijuana. Although this occurred in 2013, it was the highest amount of arrests in more than twenty years.

In fact, the arrests were twice as much as arrests from 1993, despite the state having a smaller population then. Unlike most states in 2013, New Jersey was extremely forceful in the subject of marijuana. Basically, states around the country proceeded to relax the criminalization of marijuana, but New Jersey took the opposite route. In 2017, New Jersey police arrested over 34,000 people on cannabis offense, which is more than any other state in the nation.

Today, the maximum penalty for marijuana possession, depending on the size, is 6 months in jail and a fine. Generally speaking, first-time offenders don’t serve jail time, but it still happens. Despite the ongoing policing of marijuana in New Jersey, countless citizens and politicians call for reform on the matter.

Medical Use of Marijuana in New Jersey

Although the ongoing criminalization of marijuana in the state is a significant issue, there has been a form of medical cannabis in the state since 2010. Since then, it has grown to cover more patients and expand significantly than it once was. The medical history of it started after the outgoing governor Jim Corzine signed the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act. As noted, the act has expanded to cover more patients and issues than ever before.

The expansions to the act occurred in 2017 after a 5 to 1 vote made the development happen. Because of this expansion, many local activists and citizens are demanding that it is now the time to completely legalize it. Despite the ongoing effort to push the subject forward, nothing has happened yet on the matter. Although, the medical use of marijuana in the state is undoubtedly a step toward that direction.

Like other states with similar legality, medical marijuana works through a NJ marijuana dispensary. A NJ marijuana dispensary offers various products of cannabis such as cannabis edibles, gummies, and countless other variations. Medical experts tend to recommend cannabis edibles more than anything else.

New Jersey Marijuana Reform

Like most states, the are countless activists preaching for marijuana reform in their respective states. Since the early days of marijuana reform, activists in New Jersey have called for an advocacy coalition of religious, civil rights, law enforcement, and medical leaders who support the legalization of marijuana. The idea is to have a massive group of supporters behind the subject that’ll force politicians to complete the reforms advocated.

Outside of the unjust criminalization caused by marijuana, reforms highlight how full legalization could generate up to $300 million a year in sales tax alone. Not to mention the burst of a new industry for job growth. Although the reforms aren’t where they want them to be now, this hasn’t stopped activists from giving up.

Unsuccessful Reforms

Like any other subject, with as many successful reforms, there are many unsuccessful reforms in the same realm. In 2017, state Senator Nicholas Scutari introduced legislation to legalize marijuana in New Jersey for recreational purposes. Under the proposal, people over the age of 21 would be able to legally consume and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Unfortunately, the legislation never went through because of Governor Christie’s stance against marijuana.

However, in 2018, after Christie left office, Scutari once again tried to pass the legislation. Although current Governor Murphy and Senate President Sweeney agree that marijuana should be legalized, they disagree with details of the matter. Thus, the process behind the subject hasn’t made much progress outside of the medical legalization realm. Plus, Murphy and Sweeney haven’t been able to find enough majority of senators to back the legislation.

When Will Marijuana Become Legal in New Jersey?

Like anything else, it’s impossible to predict the future of anything. However, since New Jersey already has a form of medical marijuana, the full legality isn’t too far from being the norm. Considering the overwhelming public support, activism, legislation, and other movements that are being made to legalize it, it’ll happen sooner.

Why is Marijuana Illegal in New Jersey?

Similar to most states in the United States, marijuana is illegal due to the previous history of criminalizing the plant in the 1950s and further criminalization in the 1970s. Most of you have heard of the war on drugs, and that’s the main reason why marijuana, as a result, is illegal in New Jersey.


Whether you live in New Jersey or not, it’s a shame how severe the policing of marijuana is. Hopefully, the state will be able to become one of the additional states to completely legalize marijuana. Either way, society is stepping toward this direction, whether people disagree with it or not.