Will We See Significant New Jersey Cannabis Changes in 2024?

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Cannabis in New Jersey has a big year ahead in the legal realm, as lawmakers have filed more than a dozen bills to address a wide range of topics, including banking, home growing, interstate commerce and employment protection.

In this sense, the Garden State is no different from most other states — cannabis laws are constantly in flux as the market continues to evolve alongside consumer behaviors and attitudes. Read on to learn more about potential New Jersey cannabis laws coming in 2024.

Proposed Changes to New Jersey Cannabis Law

Below is a comprehensive list of all currently proposed New Jersey cannabis laws:

  • S1985: Legalizes growing or possessing up to six marijuana plants for personal recreational use and up to 10 plants for personal medical use by persons aged 21 or older.
  • A414: Legalizes the possession of six or fewer marijuana plants.
  • S1393/A846: Authorizes home cultivation of medical cannabis.
  • S2286: Permits the governor to authorize interstate commercial cannabis activity under certain circumstances.
  • A901: Protects financial institutions and insurers doing business within the cannabis industry from being penalized by state regulators.
  • S1126: Establishes a state bank for the handling of marijuana-related funds.
  • S1955/A453: Creates certain protections for insurers and insurance producers engaging in the business of insurance for cannabis-related businesses.
  • A1609: Establishes protection from adverse employment action for authorized medical cannabis patients.
  • A2719: Provides employer and employee protections pursuant to the use of legalized cannabis items. The worker-focused legislation would build on existing guidance adopted by the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), which clarifies that employers generally cannot penalize workers based solely on positive drug tests for cannabis metabolites.
  • S677: Permits employers to prohibit the use of cannabis by certain employees.
  • A2798: Permits law enforcement agencies to prohibit recreational use of cannabis items by law enforcement officers. This proposal would resolve an ongoing dispute in the state under which the attorney general has said the legalization law protects police from being fired for off-duty cannabis use, which has become the subject of litigation.
  • S1943: Requires workers’ compensation, personal injury protection and health insurance coverage for the medical use of cannabis under certain circumstances.
  • A898: Establishes a program to subsidize the purchase price of medical cannabis for registered qualifying patients enrolled in Medicaid or NJ FamilyCare programs.
  • S1944: Allows costs of medical cannabis to be reimbursed by Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund, PAAD, Senior Gold and VCCO.
  • ACR76: Proposes constitutional amendment to dedicate tax revenue from the legal sale of recreational marijuana for mental health, addiction recovery and drug rehabilitation services.
  • A1105: Exempts medical marijuana transactions from sales and use tax.
  • A2879: Establishes THC potency limits for cannabis products.

What’s the Latest in New Jersey Cannabis Legalization?

Looking for a New Jersey cannabis law that’s helpful on taxes right now? In May 2023, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the state’s proposal to allow licensed cannabis companies to deduct ordinary, management-related business expenses from their taxes. Per this law, a business subject to the corporation business tax will be allowed to deduct all ordinary expenses associated with managing a licensed cannabis business from its income, including the opportunity to qualify for research and development deductions. The legislation essentially dissociates cannabis businesses in the state from federal Internal Revenue Service Code Section 280E, a 1982 provision that prohibits the standard business tax deductions for operations associated with illegal drug trafficking. In a statement posted on Twitter, the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association said the law allows state-approved cannabis businesses to “be treated like any other legal enterprise operating in New Jersey” and that the industry “will cherish” the “normalcy.” The law took effect immediately and applies to taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2023.

Getting Into the New Jersey Cannabis Market in 2024

For those looking to move into the market, the state of New Jersey opened applications for the second phase of a social equity funding program. The program will offer $150,000 grants and eight weeks of technical assistance to those awarded. The current priority application schedule is for Diversity-Owned Businesses until March 26, 2024, then for all business types on March 27, 2024. New Jersey cannabis regulators are currently accepting applications for personal-use (recreational) cannabis businesses in the following categories:

  • Class 1 Cultivator
  • Class 2 Manufacturer
  • Class 3 Wholesaler
  • Class 4 Distributor
  • Class 5 Retailer
  • Class 6 Delivery Service
  • Testing Laboratory

New Jersey cannabis legalization has been very profitable in the recreational sector, which saw a 10 percent increase in the third quarter to $176.9m. However, the medical cannabis program is struggling due to high prices. Many former patients have migrated to adult-use products; medical numbers dropped from 128,548 in April 2022 to 93,924 in December 2023, with revenues between July and September falling from $33m in the previous period to $29.2m. To assist with this issue, the CRC notably reduced registration fees for patients. Already in effect, the new cost of registering and renewing a two-year medical cannabis card is $10, down from $50. A new digital registration program is set to be introduced early this year to enhance access to the program.

Keep Up with Cannabis in New Jersey at CannaCon

Whether you’re in New Jersey or any of the other 49 states, CannaCon is the place to be if you’re a cannabis enthusiast, business owner, content creator or simply looking to break into the industry. With shows throughout the year, all across the nation, CannaCon is the USA’s largest B2B cannabis expo. Don’t miss your opportunity to connect with like-minded, ambitious cannabis connoisseurs at CannaCon. Get your tickets now.

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This article was originally published on March 8, 2022. It was updated by the CannaCon team on Jan. 22, 2024.

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