Is CBD Actually Legal in New Jersey?

As more and more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, the varying state laws and regulations can be confusing for consumers.

Despite the promising signs towards full legalization across the nation, it is still important that you be aware of the numerous and constantly changing laws related to cannabis consumption. 

People interested in cannabis consumption are expanding from those looking for a “high” to consumers looking to experience the plethora of health benefits marijuana can offer. The scope of products available to consumers is also expanding, ranging from things like pain-relieving THC salves to delicious CBD-infused gummies

If you’re specifically looking to buy some CBD products or other marijuana products in the state of New Jersey, the specifics of the legality may surprise you.

Conceptual image of CBD legalization and use.

Is CBD Legal in New Jersey?

After hearing about all these potential health benefits, you are likely intruiged and want to try out some CBD yourself! However, don’t get too excited. New Jersey has long had very strict laws in place when it comes to marijuana and marijuana product consumption. These days, the state is making large strides to becoming one of the many states with progressive marijuana laws. 

In 2009, New Jersey passed the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, making those who qualified able to purchase and privately consume marijuana as medical marijuana cardholders.

This was over a decade after the first state in the US, California, legalized medical marijuana. It was last reported that over 100,000 people were signed up for New Jersey's medical marijuana program.

The Marijuana Legalization Amendment

A November 2020 bill, the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, which won with 67% of the vote, means recreational marijuana use should be legal in New Jersey effective January 1st, 2021. However, the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, halted this full legalization until the bill included a harsher punishment for those caught with marijuana under the age of 21.

It was not until February 22, 2021 that an edited version of the bill, New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act, was finally signed by Murphy. While this moved forward the legalization of recreational marijuana, the state has yet to organize places for those living in the garden state to legally purchase marijuana.

However, possession laws have relaxed immensely, as those 21 and older are able to have one ounce or less, and medical marijuana cardholders are able to have three ounces or less within a thirty day time period.

How To Get Medical Marijuana in New Jersey 

If you think you or someone you know may qualify for the medical marijuana program in New Jersey, there are many rules and regulations in place you should know. Those with the following conditions approved by a physician may be eligible:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Glaucoma
  • IBS, including Crohn’s disease
  • Intractable skeletal spasticity
  • Migraine
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Opioid Use Disorder
  • HIV positive
  • AIDS
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Seizure disorder, including epilepsy
  • Terminal illness with prognosis of less than one year 
  • Tourette Syndrome

However, even if diagnosed with one of the above debilitating illnesses, there are still many other rules set in place that may inhibit your eligibility. Additionally, those with medical cards currently are battling an extreme tax cost on their medical marijuana, with just an ounce of their product costing nearly $500.

Currently, the tax on medical marijuana is 4%, down 2% since 2020. By July, it is projected to be cut by another 2% with the hopes that eventually there will be no tax for medical marijuana users. 

Hemp-Derived CBD: What Is It? 

The good news is, while many marijuana products are still unobtainable for recreational use, hemp-derived CBD is available in all 50 states. The 2018 Farm Bill no longer made hemp a Schedule I drug, or a "controlled substance", by federal law.

The Farm Bill cancelled out hemp regulations set forth by a 1970 bill, the Federal Controlled Substances Act, which made all marijuana products, including hemp products, illegal. This means that in New Jersey and any other state, you can find hemp-derived CBD products for purchase, free of many rules and regulations.

However, if you're looking to get into hemp production yourself, you'll need a license to become a grower. This can only be accomplished through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Hemp Program. If you’re in New Jersey and want to skip the guesswork when it comes to cannabis products, hemp-derived CBD is a great route.

Hemp-derived CBD comes from a type of cannabis plant called “hemp”, or sometimes referred to as "industrial hemp", that has only 0.3 percent of THC or less. When a cannabis plant contains more than this 0.3 percent of THC, it is considered marijuana. 

These low levels of THC make hemp non-psychoactive and is therefore very safe for consumption. Furthermore, the hemp plant produces CBD in large amounts, making it a good source for those looking specifically for CBD.

Hemp products can come in several different forms, including dietary supplements, topicals, and tinctures. Though you can find hemp products locally in places such as health food stores and dispensaries, buying CBD online can be a much easier process. 

various CBD products

How To Find Good Quality Hemp-Derived CBD

Since the legalization of hemp products and CBD industry as a whole is fairly recent, finding good-quality products can prove harder than you may think. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it is possible that many "CBD" products you find in stores contain no actual CBD. Here are a few tips for finding the best quality products:

  • Look for full-spectrum or CBD isolate products! Full spectrum products simply mean the entire hemp plant was used to manufacture your product. This is good for getting all the potential benefits and all the plant's chemical compounds, also providing the plant's unique flavor and aroma. However, if you're worried about even the trace amounts of THC in your product, CBD isolate is the way to go. An isolate product is refined, ensuring you're getting as close to 100 percent CBD as possible.
  • Look for products tested by a third party lab. Products tested by the company themselves can obviously provide false reports. A third party lab has no real interest in lying to consumers, so a company using a third party lab for testing likely has nothing to hide, such as false CBD content claims. Additionally, be sure the product has been tested to the full extent possible, meaning the entire cannabinoid profile, pesticides, microbials, and other important information is transparently listed in lab reports.
  • Buy CBD online! This method of obtaining CBD eliminates the hassle and pain of scouting out high-quality CBD products from local retailers. Furthermore, you have a wider array of products to choose from, such as CBD gummies or lotions, and researching the company and their products is much easier to do online. Buying from a company that knows CBD like the back of their hand is a lot better than touring your local vape shops hoping to find even a few good quality, reasonably priced products. This process is also completely legal.
  • Read up on the company’s farming, extraction, and manufacturing standards, and find products that adhere to both your personal ethics as well as federal and state guidelines. If the company or merchant is not transparent about their processes, find somewhere else.
  • Find products made from United States-sourced hemp. This will likely ensure your product is accepted under the Farm Bill. Additionally, since hemp products are highly regulated in the US, products sourced in the US are likely to be of higher-quality.
  • Look for high bioavailability products! A product with high bioavailability will mean your body will likely absorb the product better. Properly digesting and absorbing your CBD products means you have a better chance of reaping all the health benefits CBD has to offer.
  • Perhaps most importantly is to be vigilant when it comes to suspicious products, even online. This can include any websites or shops making bogus health claims and advertising CBD like it will fix all your life’s problems. While CBD has changed many people’s lives and worked wonders for some, websites should not make this their main message in their products. What you should look for in a website or shop is someone who stands by their product while being real about CBD’s known capabilities.

Is CBD Bad For You?

While CBD is known to be highly safe, non-addictive, and non-psychoactive, studies are still lacking on the chemical compound. However, it is incredibly rare that a CBD user experiences adverse effects, but in the case that they do, these symptoms are usually mild and are no cause for worry. Here are some symptoms you may experience when consuming CBD:

  • Dry mouth 
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue

Furthermore, if you are on other medications, it is important to talk with your doctor about whether or not you can use CBD alongside these medications. Some medications, like blood thinners, should not be used with CBD products in most cases.

If you purchase a full-spectrum product, it may be a good idea to relax at home for a few hours to know how you will react to this product due to the presence of other cannabinoids, like THC. For dosage, there are many factors at play that determine how much CBD you should consume.

Your weight and individual body chemistry play a huge role in recommended dosage amounts, but dosage also depends on the type of product you’re using. This is just another reason why purchasing online may be the best option for you, as the website should have clear dosage amounts listed with their products. The best advice, especially for first time CBD consumers, is to go slow and keep your dosage low.

Conclusion

It will still take some time for those states that recently passed recreational marijuana usage to get their systems up and running. While states like New Jersey are taking progressive steps towards full legalization, those looking to buy recreationally are still unable to do so despite current state laws. 

In cases such as this, purchasing hemp-derived CBD for those wishing to achieve some of the many health benefits cannabis has to offer is a great choice.

Furthermore, while finding hemp CBD in New Jersey isn’t impossible, there is a diverse online market with many different types of CBD products to choose from, including high-quality CBD oil.

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