Trying to get high at the Shore? Here's a NJ visitor's guide to all things legal weed
Welcome back to the Jersey Shore!
If you're a regular summertime visitor to our beaches and boardwalks, you're probably aware that something has changed since the last time you were here: Yes, we now have legal weed for sale.
Cannabis is now king in New Jersey and, as long as you're over 21 years old, you're allowed to walk into one of any 13 medical marijuana dispensaries across the Garden State and walk out with marijuana.
In fact, the cannabis industry is counting on tourists from other states. Cannabis in New Jersey could be $3 billion market, and the millions of potential visitors living within a few hours' drive is a huge reason why industry executives pushed for New Jersey to beat out New York, Delaware and other mid-Atlantic states to the punch.
So while you're here, kick back, relax and enjoy the, uh, fruits of our labor.
Here's what you need to know about New Jersey legal weed:
Where can I buy legal weed?
There are currently 13 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state that have permission to sell legal weed for adult use, or recreational purposes.
Another five dispensaries recently got the required state approval but haven't formally transitioned into recreational sales yet.
Here's the bad news: There are only two medical marijuana dispensaries actually located within a beach town: The Botanist and MPX New Jersey, both in Atlantic City. But neither of those dispensaries are included in the lucky 13 approved to sell recreational marijuana.
If you're visiting the beaches near the southern tip of New Jersey, your best bet is probably The Botanist in Egg Harbor Township.
If you're coming from New York, you'll want to pick up your pot before you get south of Union County.
There are numerous dispensaries located pretty close to major highways in North Jersey that you're probably using to get to your Shore destination.
Ascend's flagship dispensary in Rochelle Park is nestled between Interstate 80 and the Garden State Parkway, and RISE Dispensaries in Bloomfield is only a few miles off the Parkway.
The Apothecarium in Maplewood is near Interstate 78, which connects with the Garden State Parkway in Union County.
And if you're flying into Newark Liberty International Airport? Zen Leaf Elizabeth is less than four miles down Route 9.
So I can just walk in and buy legal weed?
No matter where you're planning on buying cannabis, you should check it out ahead of time.
Every legal weed dispensary in New Jersey has 14 hours per week designated for patients only. In some cases, it's entire days set aside exclusively for patients — so make sure you're not going to show up at a date or time when you can't actually get in the store.
And each dispensary's operation model is different. Some welcome walk-ins with no questions asked, while some only take customers by appointment. Others schedule appointments, but walk-ins are accepted if they wait on line.
Make sure you check out your chosen dispensary's website for all the specific information you need, including a menu of available products and payment information, like if credit cards are accepted.
How much does legal weed cost?
As of Thursday, an eighth-ounce of cannabis was selling for $50 to $60, while lozenges — in flavors like wintergreen, sour watermelon or cherry burst — were around $30.
Keep in mind: These dispensaries are supposed to be serving medical marijuana patients, first and foremost, so don't be surprised if some products aren't available.
How much marijuana am I allowed to buy?
Per state law, you can purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrates used for vaping or up to 1,000 mg (10 100-mg packages) of edibles.
But under state law, if you have up to 6 ounces of pot, you won't face any penalty. But a police officer can seize any amount of cannabis over 1 ounce — even if it's been legally purchased.
Where am I allowed to smoke weed?
In New Jersey, marijuana is treated like a combination of alcohol and cigarettes — so if you can't smoke or drink there, you can't consume marijuana.
Unlike New York, smoking marijuana in public is expressly against state law. Importantly, that means no parks, boardwalks or beaches.
And you can't walk into a bar or restaurant and light up, the same way you can't smoke a cigarette in a crowded, public place.
And just like alcohol, you can still be arrested for driving under the influence. Open container laws apply as well: If you have an unsealed jar or bag of marijuana, it has to be in the trunk of your car.
If you're renting a home for the weekend or a week while you're at the Jersey Shore, your landlord can prohibit you from consuming marijuana on the premises — even on an outdoor patio.
So make sure you carefully read your lease agreement or ask your landlord's permission before you plan on getting high while renting their property.
Can I bring leftovers home?
New Jersey is one of 19 states to legalize weed for recreational purposes.
But because marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, crossing state lines with marijuana technically is still drug trafficking. It holds true even for the border between two legal weed states, like New Jersey and New York.
So only buy what you know you'll use, or else you'll be putting a very expensive trash can at the curb at the end of your stay.
Mike Davis has spent the last decade covering New Jersey local news, marijuana legalization, transportation and a little bit of everything else. He's won a few awards that make his parents very proud. Contact him at email@example.com or @byMikeDavis on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: NJ legal weed: Recreational marijuana dispensary locations, rules