Although marijuana remains illegal under Federal Law, on November 3, 2020, New Jersey voters authorized a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana for adults age 21 and older. New Jersey, like Pennsylvania, is one of 34 states where marijuana is already available for medical use. It could be some time, though, until recreational marijuana is available in New Jersey. For example, after passing legislation, Maine took four years to create a legal recreational marijuana market. Massachusetts took three years for the same. At this point, only the constitutional amendment has passed, and the state legislature still must create and pass controlling laws to regulate the new enterprise.
What does this mean for Pennsylvanians? New Jersey expects a sizable “weed tourism” market and expects vacationers to purchase marijuana on their way to the Shore. This means Pennsylvanians would be allowed to purchase marijuana in New Jersey, but only for use while in New Jersey. Transporting any marijuana across state lines remains a federal crime, so returning to Pennsylvania with legally-purchased marijuana would be illegal.
Governor Tom Wolf has already begun taking steps to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf has made numerous calls to the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize marijuana, and last year he met with the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to try coordinating marijuana policies. New Jersey is expected to be one of the largest marijuana markets in the country, so the pressure is on Pennsylvania lawmakers who support legalization to take action or risk losing a competitive edge.