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.
Medical Marijuana Home Growing
“The market is developing, and we don’t want to hinder that. The New Jersey canopy is currently only 418,000 square feet—far below the average of other states with legal cannabis,” said Commissioner Maria Del Cid-Kosso. “New Jersey currently has only one cultivation license for every 197,000 residents. The national average is one license for every 31,000 residents. We have a lot of room to grow. We expect that lifting the cap will open the space for more cultivators, ultimately resulting in more favorable pricing and better access for patients and other consumers.”
Bill Caruso, an attorney and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform steering committee member, said he’s “very confident” medical marijuana patients will soon gain approval to grow perhaps up to six plants at home for their own use.
“The ability to allow patients the function of achieving the relief they need through some limited medical home grow isn’t really scary any more to a lot of people,” Caruso said.
In an effort to expand access to medicinal cannabis, Senator Troy Singleton introduced two proposals today that would allow patients to grow medical cannabis at home and another that would subsidize the cost of products bought in dispensaries.
“Overtaxation, overregulation and overcomplication. Trenton’s typical prescription to … just about every issue,” he said. “This cannabis bill is a classic example. The public voted for a relatively simple policy — to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The referendum included specific, tax-limiting language, which is critical to the success of the policy.
As of September 2020, 17 states and Washington, D.C. had passed some form of home growing laws, be they for medical or adult use.
Comparatively, most states have so far failed to pass social equity laws, with just a handful being considered adequate parameters.
Groups like the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) say laws with "reasonable safeguards" have not been challenged by any states so far. The MPP suggests secure grow sites away from the public and cultivation caps as adequate parameters.
This past month, numerous cities and states recognized marijuana as an essential good under quarantine from the novel coronavirus, allowing medical dispensaries and recreational cannabis stores to remain open during the pandemic. Governments also lifted restrictions around delivery and curbside pickup rules.
In May, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize adult-use cannabis, and the first to do so via legislative action. It’s made Illinois’ law different — and one might argue, better — than everyone else’s, and it provides a road map for other states struggling to get there.
Illinois is about to make history as the first state to legalize recreational cannabis and allow commercial sales through the state legislature instead of via a voter initiative, pending the governor’s signature. But this historic piece of legislation almost died along the way over the increasingly contentious issue of homegrow.
Ken Wolski is Executive Director at the Coalition for Medical Marijuana of NJ.
“We support this legislation despite our concerns,” Mr Wolski told InsiderNJ. “On balance the good that this bill does outweighs its limitations including a sales tax, no home grow, and the creation of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission” to oversee the program.
“This imposes another layer of bureaucracy with over a half million dollars in salaries for a program that’s already being administered by the Department of Health which is handling the program pretty well,” Wolski added.