RU Psyched

The Rutgers Psychedelic Society

Drug Policy in New Jersey

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

- John Ehrlichman, former domestic policy advisor to Richard Nixon

While most research points to the efficacy of drug decriminalization over incarceration and legal penalties, it is still illegal to possess many psychoactive substances in the state of New Jersey. We’ve compiled this page as a quick point of reference for the legal status of the most popular drugs among college students. Before coming into possession of any psychoactive substance, it’s important to understand what the consequences of getting caught with it could be.

Unfortunately, drug scheduling is rarely consistent with real scientific data - if we were to base medical advice on drug scheduling laws, we would have to believe that methamphetamine has more medicinal value than marijuana or psilocybin. Thus, this page is simply meant to draw attention to the current state of drug policy in New Jersey and the United States at large. To find accurate information about the safety of specific drugs, it is better to look at modern scientific studies.

As laws are subject to change, be sure to do your own research on top of the resources we’ve provided. We have done our best to make sure all information on this page is accurate, but it is not meant to be a fully comprehensive legal guide. Also note that this page only lists the most widely known drugs in each schedule; a complete list of DEA-scheduled drugs can be found here. Remember that your state or municipality may also have its own laws regarding drug legality.


As of January 1, 2021, cannabis is legal in New Jersey for both medical and recreational use.

More specifically, possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis or 17 grams of concentrate is legal, as is possession of paraphernalia. However, cultivation currently remains illegal.

(information obtained from NORML)

Schedule I

While studies have shown that many substances listed here have value in psychiatric medicine and are considered safe for the majority of people, a substance is categorized as Schedule I if the government deems that it “(1) has high potential for abuse; and (2) has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.” These substances carry higher penalties for possession than drugs of different schedules. For many of these drugs, possessing even a small amount could result in time in prison or large fines.

*The legality of certain drug analogues such as 1P-LSD is somewhat ambiguous. Legally, 1P-LSD cannot be consumed. Some argue that it is legal for research purposes, but the state of New Jersey criminalizes these “hallucinogenic substances, their salts, isomers and salts of isomers, unless specifically excepted.” So, while 1P-LSD is not explicitly a scheduled drug, there is a chance you could still be arrested for possession.

**It is legal to own spores of psilocybin-containing mushrooms for microscopy purposes only. It is still illegal to possess, grow, or even pick them in the wild.

Schedule II

According to federal law, a Schedule II drug “(1) has high potential for abuse; (2) has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, or currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions; and (3) abuse may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence.”

Schedule III

A drug is considered Schedule III when the state assesses that it: (1) has a potential for abuse less than the substances listed in Schedules I and II; (2) has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Like the other schedules of drugs, these substances can carry heavy fines and jail time.

Schedule IV

According to federal law, a Schedule IV drug “(1) has low potential for abuse relative to the substances listed in Schedule III; (2) has currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (3) may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to the substances listed in Schedule III.”

Schedule V

Schedule V drugs have “currently accepted medical uses, low potential for abuse and cause limited physical dependence or psychological dependence.” Keep in mind that just as it is not accurate for the government to label drugs like psilocybin as having a “high potential for abuse,” it is also true that some Schedule V substances like codeine have been shown to have a high risk for abuse. These substances may carry lighter penalties than others on this list, but that does not necessarily mean that they are safer.

**Only Schedule V in quantities under 100mg.