By now, you've probably heard that recreational sales of marijuana will launch at select dispensaries in the state as of April 21.

Cannabis remains illegal on the federal level. New Jersey, however, is among 18 states and Washington D.C. that have legalized use for adults 21 and older.

Twice as many states — 37 plus four territories and D.C. — now allow medical use of cannabis products.

So what can a casually interested customer expect when it comes to making such a purchase? Is cash needed? How much can be bought at once — and in what forms?

While state law distinguishes between cannabis and marijuana, the terms are used interchangeably in the following question-and-answer roundup.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
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Where can I buy recreational cannabis, on or after April 21?

In the first round of approvals, seven companies were cleared for retail sales to the general public of those 21 and older (plus cultivation and manufacturing). The following dispensaries were okayed to expand their sales, first:

Acreage CCF New Jersey
— The Botanist, 100 Century Drive, Egg Harbor Township
— The Botanist, 2090 Blackhorse Pike, Williamstown
(Atlantic City dispensary remains medical only)

Ascend New Jersey
— Ascend New Jersey 174 NJ Route 17, Rochelle Park
(Montclair dispensary remains medical only)

Columbia Care
— Columbia Care, 1062 North Delsea Drive, Vineland
— Columbia Care, 1692 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford

Curaleaf
- Curaleaf, 640 Creek Road, Bellmawr
- Curaleaf, 4237 South U.S. Route 130, Edgewater Park - delayed in launching sales as of May 2
(Bordentown dispensary remains medical only)

Curaleaf dispensary, Edgewater Park (courtesy Curaleaf)
Curaleaf dispensary in summer 2021, before opening in Edgewater Park (courtesy Curaleaf)
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GTI New Jersey
— RISE, 26-48 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield
— RISE, 196 3rd Avenue, #3C, Paterson
(Paramus dispensary remains medical only)

TerrAscend
— The Apothecarium, 55 South Main Street, Phillipsburg
— The Apothecarium, 1865 Springfield Avenue, Maplewood

Verano
— Zen Leaf, 117 Spring Street, Elizabeth
— Zen Leaf, 3256 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence
(Neptune dispensary remains medical only)

What about the state’s other existing medical marijuana dispensaries?

There are 23 medical dispensaries operating as of spring 2021, but not all of them will offer recreational sales — in some cases because the municipalities where they’re located haven’t approved it.

cannabis tincture, or drops (Curaleaf.com)
cannabis tincture, or drops (Curaleaf.com)
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What forms of cannabis can I buy recreationally in NJ?

Flower (or buds), oils (vaporizers), tinctures (drops, as seen above by Curaleaf) and ingestibles (lozenges) will be available for adult use.

So, no other edibles, like gummies, yet?

“Edibles, for now, will have a clinical look as opposed to a culinary look,” according to NJ CannaBusiness Association President Edmund DeVeaux.

How much pot is a typical amount to buy?

Recreational customers will be allowed up to 1 ounce in a single transaction.

An eighth of an ounce is the amount of flower most often purchased by consumers, according to Green-flower.com, which says a user can get "anywhere between 3-6 joints out of an eighth."

marijuana and money
(Canva)
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How much will it cost?

One ounce of weed in New Jersey recently ranged from $320 to $480 in 2021, according to the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, as cited by the Inquirer.

By contrast, illegal marijuana sales for the same amount not from a licensed dispensary average around $340 for an ounce deemed “high quality,” to just under $300 for “medium quality” by crowd-sourced website, PriceOfWeed.com.

An eighth of an ounce at licensed ATCs in the state cost roughly $60, according to the CRC, citing 2018 prices.

Officials have suggested that prices will continue to lower as supply increases.

Cannabis Marijuana flower
(Canva)
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Is marijuana subject to tax?

Yes. Recreational cannabis is subject to the state sales tax of 6.625%.

Municipalities also have the option of adding a 2% local tax to cannabis sales within their borders, “which has been almost universally adopted,” the Asbury Park Press reported.

Patients who are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program will no longer pay sales tax on their purchases starting in July.

Can I use a credit or debit card to purchase marijuana?

Debit card transactions are common, including drawing cash from in-store ATMs.

“From what I understand, credit card companies are not consistent in this space,” DeVeaux said.

Israel Pioneers Use Of Medical Marijuana
Getty Images
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How much marijuana can I have in my possession?

State-licensed cannabis stores are able to sell up to 1 ounce of cannabis per customer. The picture below shows how much a single ounce of marijuana looks like.

Individual adults may possess up to 6 ounces legally.

Possession of more than 6 ounces of cannabis by an adult is a crime of the fourth degree punishable by 18 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.

Larry Walker
A bag of dried plant matter representing what an ounce of marijuana looks like. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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Where can I use cannabis?

Generally, an adult 21 years of age or older can use cannabis on private property. However, property owners can limit the use of cannabis on their property.

Cannabis Clubs Boom In Barcelona
Getty Images
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Can you be fired for smoking/consuming it?

Being under the influence of marijuana or hashish is not a crime, in itself, under state law as revised in 2021.

However, employers still have the right to set their own “drug-free workplace” rules.

While employers cannot discriminate against off-hours use, “in-house or contracted drug recognition experts may perform random drug tests for intoxication at work, and may test anyone who appears to be impaired on the job, or who has been in a workplace accident.”

“If an employer has federal contracts, or if they’re guided by federal rules and regulations, for example, commercial driver’s licenses have to still have testing in place,” Angelo M. Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, previously said to New Jersey 101.5.

Driving under the influence of any substance remains illegal.

Can law enforcement buy and use recreational pot while off-duty?

If the cannabis is bought from a licensed dispensary once recreational sales have begun, then police officers can, according to a memo issued by Acting Attorney General Matthew Platkin.

“To be clear, there should be zero tolerance for cannabis use, possession, or intoxication while performing the duties of a law enforcement officer,” Platkin said in the memo sent to law enforcement leaders, as first reported by New Jersey Monitor.

“There should be zero tolerance for unregulated marijuana consumption by officers at any time, on or off duty, while employed in this state. The safety of our communities and our officers demands no less,” Platkin also said.

Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign a law that prohibit law enforcement officers from using marijuana.

What about teachers?

As in the larger sense, school districts still have the right to set their own “drug-free workplace” rules.

“The newly enacted laws decriminalizing possession or use of marijuana present new challenges for school officials which should lead boards of education to review their policies and make necessary adjustments,” according to 2021 guidance issued by the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association.

dispensary in Maplewood (courtesy Apothacarium Maplewood) medical marijuana legal weed 2021 NJ
Zen Leaf dispensary in Elizabeth (Google Maps)
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What's going to be done with the tax money from cannabis sales?

Of state sales tax revenue from cannabis sales, about 70% will go back to "impact zones" — socially and economically disadvantaged municipalities that were harmed by the war on drugs.

These are defined by population size, marijuana arrests in 2019, crime index and other factors.

The remaining 30% is earmarked to "support the state’s cannabis regulatory agency and infrastructure.”

The revised state budget expects $4 million in revenue for the state budget between April and June from adult-use cannabis and then $19.05 million for fiscal 2023 (July 2022 through June 2023).

In addition to the wider range of medicinal dispensaries, are there other benefits to staying enrolled in the medical marijuana program?

Patients who are enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program will no longer pay sales tax on their purchases starting in July.

Between that and priority hours, lines, parking and home delivery, there remain incentives to have a medical card, if you qualify.

(ThinkStock)
(ThinkStock)
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Can I legally grow my own marijuana in NJ?

No. None of the existing legislation permits legal home growing of marijuana by private citizens for any reason.

Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, last year proposed home grow legislation, which has so far stalled in the Legislature — as did a previous measure proposed by the now late state Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Bergen.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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