Here’s what to know about adding weed to your Memorial Day weekend

EDITOR’S NOTE: Interested in the business and networking side of cannabis? NJ Cannabis Insider is hosting a cannabis business awards event on June 8 . Tickets are limited.

This is the second Memorial Day weekend since the New Jersey recreational weed market opened up last year, and there are now 30 adult-use retailers throughout the state.

With at least one dispensary located in 15 counties, weed will be a viable entertainment option for adults 21 and over. Take note that — with the exception of Atlantic City — not one Shore town has allowed the sell of recreational cannabis near the water. More on that later.

While the weather isn’t forecasted to be as scorching hot as last year, if you’re heading down the Shore this holiday weekend to relax and memorialize, adding ganja to your beach plans may be trickier than you think.

Mind where you smoke

Sorry to break it to you, but all smoking is prohibited on beaches — even for medical cannabis patients. Also, you can’t just smoke anywhere in public. Keep in mind many of the same rules that apply to tobacco smoke apply to cannabis smoke.

According guidelines laid out by the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission, patients may consume their products in public, but only within the confines of the Smoke-Free Air Act.

A CRC spokeswoman told me that while medical cannabis patients are allowed to smoke in any public space where smoking is already allowed, that’s not true for taking it to the sand.

Smoking recreational cannabis in any public place is not permitted unless expressly authorized by the municipality you are in. The fines and penalties for smoking are determined by each local authority.

The state Attorney General and the Governor’s Office made efforts in early 2021 to put an end to arrests and prosecutions for cannabis possession. Law enforcement is no longer allowed to stop and search persons and their vehicles because of a marijuana smell — but that doesn’t mean it’s legal to drive under the influence.

If you plan on celebrating at home or at another private residence, you will have the added convenience of not needing to worry about breaking the law. However, ask your landlord before sparking up, as they may prohibit cannabis use on their property.

Switch consumption methods

File image of marijuana candy chews. (Katrina Tulloch)

Consider eating or drinking your weed instead of smoking it this holiday weekend if you plan on getting blitz down the Shore.

There are many ways to consume cannabis without smoking it. Consider eating or drinking your bud to avoid any sticky legal situations in public. Vaporizers also can be much more discreet, producing less smoke and smell.

For a complete list of consumption ideas, see this article.

Visit a licensed dispensary

The rules around smoking on the beach may seem confusing considering how many places along New Jersey’s boardwalks have signs saying that they sell cannabis products.

It is important to note that only the products sold at licensed dispensaries are considered to be legal weed. The items being advertised at those boardwalk shops are untested, and are usually hemp-derived, lab-created THC alternatives like Delta-8 or Delta-7 — not real marijuana.

If you want to be sure that you know what you are consuming and who made it, visit one of the shops that have spent a great deal of time, money and effort to bring quality cannabis products to New Jersey for your legal enjoyment.

These businesses have endured stringent application processes and real estate bidding wars to participate in the market, and help drive tourism throughout our lovely Garden State.

Have a question about consuming weed? Ask me anything.

RELATED STORIES ABOUT LEGAL WEED IN N.J.:

All the ways to consume cannabis

4 things to know before visiting one of N.J.’s legal weed stores

3 new legal weed stores opened in N.J. this month

Weed edibles in N.J.: Rules of engagement for beginners and where to buy them

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Gabby Warren is NJ.com’s Cannabis Life reporter. She’ll be covering all things weed retail, commerce and culture.


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