Written by: Jonathan H. Katz, Esq.

On February 22, 2021, Governor Murphy signed into law the long-awaited cannabis legislation, which legalizes the consumption of lawfully possessed cannabis items and provides for the regulation of cannabis use and possession for individuals twenty-one (21) years and older. Many provisions in the law will not become operative until the newly formed Cannabis Regulatory Commission adopts rules and regulations to guide licensing of new businesses, workplace drug testing, and funding for community programs. And until that happens, there will not be legal marijuana sales in New Jersey.

However, the 240-page legislation (A21/S21) does create options for some New Jersey community associations. Specifically, the new law gives condominiums, cooperatives, and other qualifying multifamily housing* the right to prohibit the “smoking, vaping, or aerosolizing of a cannabis item” in individual units. Associations have, and continue to have, the ability to regulate smoking (of any type) in or on the common property.

*  This portion of the cannabis legislation applies only to multiple dwellings as defined in the Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law, N.J.S.A. 55:13A-1 et seq. As generally defined by that law, multiple dwellings are three or more units of dwelling space occupied by persons who live independently of each other, which includes condominiums and cooperatives. Also, some homeowners associations with attached units, like townhouses, may qualify.

With respect to condominium associations, the ability to prohibit smoking, vaping, or aerosolizing a cannabis item in individual units is allowable if authorized by a majority of all of the condominium’s unit owners, which can be accomplished by an amendment to the condominium’s governing documents.

Please note that while the legislation allows for the prohibition of “smoking, vaping, or aerosolizing of a cannabis item” in a condominium, cooperative or other qualifying multifamily housing, it does not prohibit the consumption of a lawfully possessed cannabis item (edibles, for example) in such housing. Please also note that this legislation deals with the recreational use of cannabis and not medical marijuana. As such, associations who are considering adopting prohibitions as allowable pursuant to this legislation should discuss these issues with legal counsel before taking any action.

You can read the full legislation by clicking here.

If you have any questions about this legislation or any other issue concerning your community association, please contact one of Hill Wallack’s community association attorneys.