While it is legal for adults in New Jersey to buy marijuana, it is still illegal to grow the plant at home. State Senator Troy Singleton has introduced bills to allow medical patients to grow their own weed.
Cannabis Home Cultivation
Though New Jersey legalized cannabis in April 2022, public consumption and growing your own are both illegal. The law further grants landlords the right to prohibit cannabis use on their property.
Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has frequently been asked about the lack of a home grow option in New Jersey’s cannabis program, and he’s expressed openness to the proposal before. But he made clear during a Q&A session on WNYC radio on Monday that he doesn’t think the time is right to enact that additional reform.
Gov. Phil Murphy has signaled he would be open to letting New Jersey residents allowed to grow their own marijuana.
The remarks came in an answer to a caller on the monthly “Ask Governor Murphy” call-in show on Monday. Some New Jersey residents have been frustrated by the new state law that allows the sale and use of recreational marijuana, but does not allow any amount to be legally grown at home.
And now the bad news
Medical cannabis in NJ is still the most expensive in the nation, between $450-$500 for an ounce of the good stuff. And lacking provisions for home cultivation, you can go to jail for 5 years for growing your own weed in New Jersey.
3. New Jersey must legalize home cultivation
The Garden State is the one of only 2 adult-use states that doesn’t allow individuals to grow their own cannabis. And lawmakers aren’t just bringing shame to their state’s nickname with that choice. They’re also hurting medical patients and responsible adults who already voted in droves for legal weed.
Nick Scutari helped get legalization passed in New Jersey. But he’s also one of the biggest opponents blocking home cultivation. Scutari claims that law enforcement said homegrows feed illicit markets in states like Colorado.
STILL ILLEGAL: And you still can’t grow your own cannabis.
New Jersey is the only state that doesn’t even allow its medical marijuana patients to grow cannabis at home. And when it comes to recreational customers, we’re joined by Washington.
Growing even one marijuana plant is still a third-degree crime, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. It’s just as illegal today as it was on Feb. 21, 2021, before weed was legalized in New Jersey.
When medical cannabis dispensaries hire lobbyists in Trenton, they’re not lobbying for us, the patients. They’re lobbying for themselves, usually against us. For example: to defend their marketshare, NJ’s medical cannabis dispensaries have aggressively lobbied against provisions for the home cultivation of cannabis.
That’s why cultivation remains extremely illegal in NJ where, despite a wildly successful recreational cannabis referendum, you can still go to jail for 5 years for a single pot plant.
First of all, don’t buy the whole ”patents come first” thing, a debate for another time. Secondly, “it can’t be emphasized enough” sounds awfully needy don’t you think?
James Leventis is an executive for Verano New Jersey.
Verano, who run two medical marijuana dispensaries in NJ, have aggressively pushed to be first in line for recreational sales. Their Deptford location, where medical cannabis goes for $472/oz, devoted half its retail space to recreational sales that haven’t started yet.
“I’m not against marijuana being grown at home and being used for medical purposes, and maybe even just recreational purposes,” Senate President Nick Scutari (D) told a cannabis business group on a January 12 video call. “But we’ve got to kind of let this industry get off the ground … If we flood this market with tons of additional product … I know people think it’s going to be used for personal use only, but it doesn’t happen that way.”