Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Public Question 1
Constitutional Amendment To Legalize Marijuana
Votes %
Yes 2,737,682 67.08%
No 1,343,610 32.92%
Valid votes 4,081,292 88.04%
Invalid or blank votes 554,293 11.96%
Total votes 4,635,585 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 6,407,297 72.35%

Results by county



New Jersey Public Question 1, the Constitutional Amendment To Legalize Marijuana, was a measure that appeared on the November 3, 2020 New Jersey general election ballot. Passing with the largest margin of victory of any statewide cannabis legalization ballot measure in US history, Question 1 legalized the possession and recreational use of cannabis; although planned to go into effect January 1, 2021, implementation was delayed until February 22 due to a dispute between the governor and legislature over penalties for underage cannabis users.[1][2] Retail sales are also allowed under the amendment.[3][4]

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy campaigned on legalizing marijuana in the 2017 gubernatorial election. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to implement legalization via the legislature, in 2019, lawmakers voted to put the issue on the November 2020 ballot as a constitutional amendment.[5]

Along with Arizona, Montana and South Dakota, New Jersey is one of four states that legalized recreational marijuana via ballot measures in 2020. New Jersey was the first state to vote on marijuana legalization as a legislative referral rather than a voter-initiated ballot measure; the latter are not permitted under New Jersey law.


Public Question 1 overwhelmingly passed with 67.1% yes vs 32.9% no. Every county voted at least 60% yes. Monmouth County had the largest number of yes votes, at 244,576, while Camden County had the highest percentage of yes votes, at 75.3%. Middlesex County had the largest number of no votes, at 131,757, while Ocean County had the highest percentage of no votes, at 39.9%.

Public Question 1
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 2,737,682 67.08
No 1,343,610 32.92
Valid votes 4,081,292 88.04
Total votes 4,635,585 100.00
Registered voters/turnout 6,407,297 72.35
Source: [6][7]

Results by County[edit]

Results by County[8]
County Yes Yes % No No % Total
Atlantic 86,176 69.2% 38,430 30.8% 124,606
Bergen 208,941 66.5% 105,208 33.5% 314,149
Burlington 179,390 71.3% 72,193 28.7% 251,583
Camden 172,531 75.3% 56,667 24.7% 229,198
Cape May 36,353 65.9% 18,775 34.1% 55,128
Cumberland 35,636 66.9% 17,632 33.1% 53,268
Essex 229,144 72.0% 89,315 28.0% 318,459
Gloucester 113,728 70.5% 47,497 29.5% 161,225
Hudson 153,430 71.8% 60,417 28.3% 213,847
Hunterdon 52,994 64.4% 29,292 35.6% 82,286
Mercer 119,390 71.3% 48,171 28.7% 167,561
Middlesex 221,484 62.7% 131,757 37.3% 353,241
Monmouth 244,576 65.6% 128,276 34.4% 372,852
Morris 184,757 61.2% 100,749 35.3% 285,506
Ocean 190,204 60.1% 126,469 39.9% 316,673
Passaic 131,449 63.5% 75,578 36.5% 207,027
Salem 20,911 65.1% 11,188 34.9% 32,099
Somerset 114,904 63.7% 65,595 36.3% 180,499
Sussex 57,583 66.4% 29,158 33.6% 86,741
Union 146,620 67.9% 69,204 32.1% 215,824
Warren 37,481 63.0% 22,039 37.0% 59,520
Total 2,737,682 67.1% 1,343,610 32.9% 4,081,238


Shortly after voters decisively approved the measure, a bill to decriminalize marijuana in the interim was introduced in the legislature; while it passed in the Senate, approval stalled in the House amid a contentious provision which would lessen the criminal penalties for possession of psilocybin mushrooms.[9] The psilocybin provision was later removed from the decriminalization bill and signed into law as a standalone piece of legislation.[10]

On December 4, 2020, Governor Murphy announced he had reached an agreement with the legislature's leadership on adult-use cannabis sales.[11] The cannabis regulation bill was approved by committees in both legislative houses on December 14 and during a subsequent floor vote by the full assembly three days later.[12][13][14] Murphy did not immediately sign the legislation, citing concerns about the lack of penalties for underage marijuana consumption in the decriminalization bill.[15] Although lawmakers initially indicated they would be willing to introduce a new bill to include underage penalties, they subsequently withdrew that offer on January 8 and indicated Murphy would need to sign or veto the enabling legislation as-is.[16]

After several weeks, a revised "cleanup bill" was introduced in the legislature. Compared to the original bill, fines for people aged 18–20 caught with marijuana were reduced to $50 (from the original $500 maximum fine) and "stationhouse adjustments" for minors were replaced with written warnings from police. These changes were made due to concerns from legislators who opposed the original bill on the grounds that police would use the penalties to unfairly target minorities.[17] These changes were still apparently not enough to win majority support, and on February 17, 2021 state senator Nicholas Scutari (who had led the cleanup bill efforts) said "all avenues to clarify [underage penalties] any further are exhausted" and cancelled a planned committee hearing on the bill.[18] However, the rescheduled committee hearing on February 19 saw the "cleanup bill" being approved in a 6-2 vote.[19]

On February 22, 2021, the underage penalties "cleanup" bill was approved by a full vote of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly and was subsequently signed into law by governor Murphy along with the enabling legislation, making New Jersey the 14th state to legalize recreational cannabis.[20] Police strongly objected to a provision of the cleanup bill which prohibited them from informing the parent or guardian of a person under 18's first alcohol or cannabis possession offense; police could only do so after the second offense under the underage penalties law as enacted. In response, legislators began working on a bill that would permit police to notify a parent or guardian upon a minor's first alcohol or cannabis possession offense. Governor Murphy expressed support for the legislation.[21]

On March 25, 2021, both houses of the New Jersey legislature unanimously passed an amendment to the underage penalties law requiring police to notify the parent or guardian of a minor about any alcohol or marijuana possession offenses. The legislation was signed by the governor the following day.[22][23]

On April 21, 2022, New Jersey cannabis sales legislation finally went into effect - even though it passed by ballot initiative with New Jersey voters back in November 2020.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jan. 1 deadline rolled back for NJ's legal weed". NJ Spotlight News. December 31, 2020.
  2. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (November 4, 2020). "New Jersey Voters Approve Marijuana Legalization Referendum".
  3. ^ "Marijuana decriminalization stalls in N.J. Assembly after lawmakers add magic mushrooms to the bill. Senate moves forward". nj. November 16, 2020.
  4. ^ "New Jersey governor signs laws to set up marijuana market". Associated Press. February 22, 2021. Archived from the original on February 22, 2021.
  5. ^ Sutton, Sam. "New Jersey marijuana legalization bill dead; lawmakers will let voters decide". Politico PRO.
  6. ^ "Résultats" (PDF). Retrieved January 27, 2021..
  7. ^ "stats" (PDF). Retrieved January 27, 2021..
  8. ^ "Official List Public Question Results For 11/03/2020--GENERAL ELECTION" (PDF). NJ Division of Elections. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 11, 2021.
  9. ^ Vannozzi, Brianna (November 16, 2020). "Marijuana decriminalization bill stalls over 'magic mushrooms' amendment". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  10. ^ "New Jersey Becomes Latest State To Loosen Penalties For Magic Mushrooms". Forbes. February 20, 2021. Archived from the original on February 20, 2021.
  11. ^ "NJ Legislature, Gov. Murphy Reach Agreement on Marijuana Legalization".
  12. ^ Adlin, Ben (December 17, 2020). "New Jersey Lawmakers Send Marijuana And Psilocybin Bills To Governor".
  13. ^ "N.J. legal weed bills advance after weeks of controversy. Final votes set for Thursday". nj. December 14, 2020.
  14. ^ "N.J. weed bill clears final hurdle before major votes Thursday". nj. December 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (December 28, 2020). "New Jersey Marijuana Bills Hit Snag Over Underage Penalties As Legalization Enactment Date Nears".
  16. ^ "N.J. legal weed deal between Murphy and lawmakers suddenly collapses in stunning development". nj. January 8, 2021.
  17. ^ Davis, Mike. "NJ legal weed just hit a snag — yes, another one. Here's what's next". Asbury Park Press. Archived from the original on February 16, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  18. ^ "Is N.J. legal weed effort dead again? Top lawmaker abandons compromise, hopes Murphy will sign bills on his desk. -". February 18, 2021. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021.
  19. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (February 19, 2021). "New Jersey Lawmakers Approve Latest Marijuana 'Clean Up' Bill Amid Week Of Uncertainty". Archived from the original on February 19, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  20. ^ New Jersey governor signs laws to set up marijuana market, Associated Press, February 22, 2021
  21. ^ NJ to remove ban on police telling parents about weed use
  22. ^ N.J. parents will be told first time their kids get caught with weed or booze under bill that just passed
  23. ^ NJ Parents Must Be Told of Cannabis Offense Under New State Law
  24. ^ "'Today is absolutely historic': Legal marijuana sales roll out in New Jersey". April 23, 2022.