Much has changed over the last decade when it comes to cannabis law. While marijuana possession, sale and manufacture remain technically illegal in New Jersey and Pennsylvania on both the state and federal levels, the states differ on many of the enforcement protocols and penalties. This is particularly true in the area of medical marijuana (MMJ). Laws related to its legal use in New Jersey will continue to evolve.
This past January marked 10 years since Governor Jon Corzine signed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (N.J.S.A. 24:6I-1 et seq.) into law, making it 14th state to allow medical marijuana. The first Alternative Treatment Center and dispensary opened in December 2012. CUMMA, as it is called, does not allow residents to grow their own marijuana plants. Instead, the state’s registry allows physicians to initiate patient certification with the Medical Marijuana Program, and qualified individuals can possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana within a 30-day period.
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance—a category reserved for substances with a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. The evolution continues, and laws continue to be defined and redefined. Criminal violations, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI), probation and loss of employment for a positive drug test are just some of the changes that routinely draw the attention of legal, medical and political pundits.