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Thinking of Trying Cannabis? Read This First

Having been illegal for so long there are still questions about Cannabis.

Photo by Esteban López

Cannabis is now legal in New Jersey for individuals 21 and over. If you’ve been thinking about trying it for the first time or even if you tried it in the past, it’s important to use it safely and responsibly.

Buying Cannabis in New Jersey

New Jersey law makes a legal distinction between cannabis and marijuana. Cannabis refers to the regulated form of the plant (what is grown, bought, and sold by New Jersey state-licensed cannabis businesses) and marijuana refers to the unregulated form of the plant (what is grown, bought, and sold in the illicit market). Buying from any source other than alternative treatment centers and dispensaries licensed by the NJ-CRC is still illegal. A list of licensed dispensaries is available on the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s website.

Effects of Cannabis Are Different for Everyone

Understanding how cannabis and cannabis products vary in potency, and how potency affects the brain and the body is essential for safe and responsible consumption. New users in particular should start with low potency and small quantities until they’ve learned the effects on their body. This is also good practice when trying any new products.

Wait for at least two hours before consuming more cannabis in any form, and use in moderation. Remember, combining cannabis and other psychoactive substances (like alcohol) will significantly increase impairment and could cause additional adverse effects. New Jersey laws regarding driving while impaired apply to being under the influence of cannabis.

white and brown cigarette stick on white and black floral textile
Photo by Shelby Ireland

Always Store Cannabis Safely

Companies selling cannabis in New Jersey are held to some of the most rigorous standards for manufacturing, labeling, packaging, and testing in the country. Packaging is required to be child-resistant, resealable, and clearly labeled for individuals over 21, with comprehensive product descriptions and recommended usage guidelines. Do your part by storing your cannabis in the original clearly labeled packaging and/or child-resistant storage containers and keep it out of the reach and away from anyone who shouldn’t use it.

Where It Can be Used

Smoking cannabis is allowed in private spaces, although landlords may choose to prohibit cannabis use on their property. You cannot use, smoke, eat, or vape cannabis on federal lands, in federal buildings, or in public spaces where smoking is prohibited. And it is still illegal to transport it across state lines.

 It’s Not for Everyone

Cannabis consumption is not safe for everyone. Avoid cannabis use if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have an existing experience with or family history of psychosis or other mental health conditions, you should avoid cannabis use for those reasons as well. Anyone using prescription medication should first discuss cannabis use with a physician before consuming. And of course, it is unsafe and illegal for anyone under 21 years old to have or use cannabis and cannabis products.

If you choose to consume cannabis, do so during times of recreation. The effects of cannabis use can impact the ability to perform work functions well, to concentrate, to handle equipment, and to make reasonable decisions. Being impaired at work may also violate the terms of your employment and could result in termination.

For more information on cannabis use in the State of New Jersey, check out the CRC’s education toolkit as well as these tips on safe and responsible usage.

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Photo by Margo Amala

Brought to you by New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission