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Northeast Tri-State Cannabis Legalization: New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut - 2021 Update

As April 2021, the following represents the status of northeast, tri-state cannabis legalization:

tri-state cannabis

Summary of Cannabis Legalization in New York

Cannabis is legal for recreational consumption in the state of New York. Below is a summary of New York cannabis law/laws/regulations:

  • All cannabis taxes will be deposited in the New York state cannabis revenue fund. Revenue covers reasonable costs to administer the program and implement the law. The remaining funding will be split three ways: 40% to education, 40% to Community Grants Reinvestment Fund, 20% to Drug Treatment and Public Education Fund.
  • Personal possession outside of the home: up to 3 ounces of cannabis and 24 grams of cannabis concentrate.
  • Home grow is allowed: 3 mature plants and 3 immature plants for adults over 21, and 6 mature plants and 6 immature plants maximum per household.
  • Automatic expungement or resentencing for anyone with a previous marijuana conviction that would now be legal under the law and provides necessary funding. 

Summary of Cannabis Legalization in New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy, signed the New Jersey adult cannabis consumption reform bills into law on February 22, 2021. On that day he tweeted:

Let me be blunt: Today, I signed historic adult-use cannabis reform bills into law – with social justice, racial justice, and economic justice leading the way.

  • In New Jersey, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) oversees cannabis regulations to govern the medical and adult-consumption industries. They also oversee the applications for licensing of cannabis businesses.
  • Possession of six ounces or less of cannabis and consuming on private property has been decriminalized for adults 21 and up.
  • Purchasing and selling cannabis from dispensaries won’t be in effect until 2022 so, technically, the sell and purchase of cannabis in New Jersey isn’t quite legal yet. But Diane Houenou, incoming chair of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission says: “the law does provide those medicinal operators a pathway to serving the broader adult-use recreational community.”

Summary of Cannabis Legalization in Connecticut:

2021 Update:
Bill 893 legalized CBD and hemp in the state of Connecticut as of January 2019.

On April 6, 2021, the Judiciary Committee amended and advanced the S.B. 888 - An Act Responsibly and Equitably Regulating Adult-Use Cannabis.

Connecticut has not legalized cannabis, but has decriminalized cannabis and does have legalized medical cannabis consumption:

  • Residents of Connecticut can register for a medical cannabis certifications if being treated for a qualified condition.
  • In Connecticut, decriminalization means no prison time or criminal record for first-time possession of a small amount for personal use.
  • Possession one-half ounce or less results in a civil penalty of $150 to $500 for 1st and 2nd time offenses. 
  • Possession of more than one-half ounce is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,000 and up to one year of jail time.

In Closing

Like most states, cannabis from another state cannot leave that state and be transported into another. So, New Jersey residents can’t purchase cannabis and transport into New York. But it looks like New Jersey wants to serve New York cannabis consumers. 

The New York Times published a piece focused on New Jersey cannabis legalization and quoted Mr. Scurati (Democrat Union County Representative) stating:

We’re anticipating moving very quickly with enabling legislation, which would in fact allow medical marijuana shops to sell to the general public immediately. We’re happy to invite New York residents over to enjoy.”

About Veronica Castillo

Veronica Castillo is a writer from Miami, with a pre-Cannabis background in insurance and human resources. She advocates, writes about, and educates on the topic of cannabis and hemp for overall life. Currently, she is a resident of the road exploring all thing’s cannabis and hemp in the United States, with plans to travel abroad in exploration of cannabis and hemp culture in other countries.


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