This article was originally published on Weedmaps and appears here with permission.
At long last, adult-use sales have finally started in the state of New Jersey. Two years after citizens of the Garden State took to the polls and called for cannabis legalization, the first adult-use cannabis dispensaries opened their doors to the public just a few weeks ago on April 21, 2022. Since then, it's been clear that adult-use cannabis sales are a hit.
Around 12,000 people purchased legal cannabis products from the state's 12 open dispensaries on the first day alone, spending about $2 million in the process, according to the New Jersey's Cannabis Regulatory Commission. That's a whole lot of cannabis flower, resin, wax, shatter, capsules, and tinctures. What adult-use buyers in the Garden State still can't get their hands on, however, are cannabis-infused edibles. The law doesn't allow brownies, cookies, or other cannabis products “resembling food."
But why are cannabis-infused food items still off-limits in Jersey? And what exactly counts as an edible and what doesn't?
Are edibles legal in New Jersey?
No, not at this time. New Jersey's statute is very clear about what forms of cannabis are allowed. Legal cannabis is broken down into two simple categories: ingestible cannabis products and inhalable cannabis products. Edibles — like cookies and brownies — are not currently included in the ingestible cannabis category.
Let's dig a little deeper into each of these categories to understand why.
Inhalable cannabis products
Under the letter of New Jersey law, forms of cannabis specifically intended to be inhaled via smoke or vapor — like dried cannabis flower, concentrates, and vape cartridges — are all considered smokable products.
Ingestible cannabis products
As the New Jersey state law is written currently, the only forms of non-smokable cannabis products legally available for adult-use consumers are products like tablets, pills, syrups, and tinctures. That means that THC-infused candies, beverages, and pastry-style treats are not legal.
Why are edibles illegal in New Jersey?
The part of the legislation that outlaws products like pot brownies, cookies, and cakes from being sold in dispensaries is about as clear as it gets. It says cannabis products sold in NJ dispensaries can't resemble “commercially manufactured or trademarked" food products or any animals, characters, fruit, and other artistic imagery. So, for now, the law does not allow for the manufacturing and selling of cannabis edibles.
Lawmakers have said they wrote this language into the legalization bill for two reasons.
First, state-level lawmakers cited concerns about minors getting their hands on THC-laced products. If kids stumble upon edibles like pot brownies and THC-rich cookies, the reasoning goes, they would be far more likely to eat those than to consume a capsule or tincture.
The second factor is the lack of testing facilities. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission doesn't have the capacity to test the potency and purity of commercially produced cannabis edibles while setting statewide health and safety standards.
In the meantime, New Jersey cannabis aficionados can still whip up a batch of pot brownies in their own kitchens with flower purchased at a dispensary.