TRENTON — With more than 50 spots across New Jersey now offering you legal access to the state's recreational marijuana market, a public education campaign is launching statewide, to ensure that cannabis consumers — both veterans and newbies — are using it safely, for themselves and those around them.

Digital ads, social media, billboards, and posters are being used to deliver the safety messages.

The CREAMM Act, the legislation that paved the way for legal cannabis use in New Jersey, requires that the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission run campaigns and provide information for responsible consumption.

"We want to empower New Jersey's residents with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about cannabis use and encourage purchasing from the legal market, which supports union jobs and designates monies to making communities better," said Krista Nash, commissioner for the NJ-CRC.

The commission held a press conference in Trenton on Wednesday to announce the launch of the statewide campaign. Below are some of the key points.

Zen Leaf marijuana dispensary in Elizabeth on Thursday, April 21, 2022. (Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office).
Zen Leaf marijuana dispensary in Elizabeth on Thursday, April 21, 2022, the first day of legal adult-use sales in New Jersey. (Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office).

Buy from a reputable source

"Unlike the illicit market, when adult consumers and patients make a purchase at a licensed facility, they know exactly what they're getting," said Scott Rudder, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association. "They have confidence in their product because they can actually see what's on the label."

Cannabis packaging must include certain info, such as:

🔵 Product name and ingredients

🔵 Storage advice and warnings about overconsumption

🔵 Serving size and directions for use

🔵 Manufacturer information

🔵 A symbol (pictured below) that indicates that the product is for adults only

New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission
New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission

Keep cannabis out of kids' hands

New Jersey has seen a spike in marijuana exposure in kids, mainly because of edibles, such as gummies.

Cannabis packaging in New Jersey is supposed to be child-resistant, even when it's resealed. But industry professionals say it's also up to the adult consumers to keep these products out of reach and sight of children and pets.

"Make sure they're locked up and kept in a safe place," said Diane Calello, medical director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center. "Keep products in their original child-resistant packaging. If you do remove them, place them into a locked child-resistant resealable container or bag."

Cannabis packaging and child-resistant bags on display at a New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission press conference in Trenton (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media)
Cannabis packaging and child-resistant bags on display at a New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission press conference in Trenton (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media)

Weed and driving don't mix

Advocates want consumers to equate driving while high with driving while drunk.

At all cannabis points of sale in New Jersey, there are flyers providing consumers with information on the hazards and penalties associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana.

"Research shows that cannabis can negatively impact motor functions such as attention, coordination, and reaction time — all skills important for safe driving," said Lauren Paterno, of AAA Northeast. "Simply put, if you use cannabis, don't drive. If you are driving, don't use cannabis."

healthy pregnancy. Side view pregnant woman with big belly advanced pregnancy in hands. Banner copyspace for text. Elegant mother waiting baby
ThinkStock via Getty Images

Cannabis is not for pregnant/nursing women

No amount of marijuana use is considered safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding, Helen Hannigan, CEO of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, said during her remarks at the press conference.

Continued research is needed to determine the impacts of marijuana on pregnant individuals and their developing fetuses, but there is evidence that cannabis use can cause harm and affect fetal, infant, and child development, she said.

"There is no proof that cannabis is effective in the treatment of morning sickness," Hannigan added. "If you currently use marijuana and are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you should stop using it. And if you need support, talk to your clinical team."

UPDATE 2023: All the NJ stores that sell legal weed

The number of recreational cannabis dispensaries continues to grow, since the first NJ adult use marijuana sales in April 2022.

Gallery Credit: Erin Vogt, Eric Scott

Windfarm projects proposed for NJ coast — and what they might look like

These are the wind energy projects approved for and planned for the ocean off the coasts of New Jersey and New York. While the projects have the support of officials who say they will stimulate the local economy and create renewable energy to power millions of homes, many coastal residents have raised concerns about how the projects will impact tourism and the environment.

The gallery includes competing photosimulations — those on file with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and those recently commissioned by a group opposed to the wind farm development.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM