Weed ‘gifting’ companies are starting up in N.J. But are they legal?
Licenses to sell legal weed are still months away, but there’s a handful of entrepreneurs coming into the scene through a possible legal loophole — “gifting” cannabis.
It’s a scheme popular in other states and particularly in Washington, D.C. A company lets you buy cookies, snacks or brownies that come with sticker shock of $50 or more. But when they make the delivery, it comes with a suggested gift: maybe a cannabis edible or an ounce of flower.
New Jersey voters said yes to legalizing cannabis by a 2-to-1 margin in November. But it was when Gov. Phil Murphy actually signed laws to legalize cannabis and decriminalize possession of up to six ounces of it that these companies found legal cover.
“It seems the risks are minimal given the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana in (New Jersey),” Gene Markin, an attorney with Princeton-based Stark and Stark, told NJ Cannabis Insider.
That assumes they have less than six ounces at a time. The decriminalization law allows a person to possess six ounces and sell up to one ounce without criminal penalty.
“In short, it’s illegal just as jay-walking or walking on someone else’s lawn may be, but the enforcement and penalties are negligible,” Markin said. “That said, perhaps the case could be made that a ‘business; engaging in this practice is ‘trafficking’ marijuana (if you add up all the quantities delivered to customers) and therefore could face serious penalties and criminal charges.”