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A beginner's guide to legal weed in New Jersey

Plus, Pennsylvania's 'Underground Pentagon.'

April 22, 2022
Inside this edition: Cannabis Q&A, weekend walkthrough, 'Underground Pentagon,' Three Mile Island: The Movie, and introducing Jonor Fetterlamb.

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Pennsylvania is mispelled in the U.S. Constitution. True or False?

(We'll have a real stumper in this space each week. You'll find the answer at the bottom, but don't miss all the good stuff in between.) 
New Jersey recreational cannabis sales have officially started. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It’s official: Pennsylvania’s neighbor to the east is now on its way to becoming one of the largest recreational cannabis markets in the world. 

One year after New Jersey voters greenlit the option, adult-use sales of legal cannabis began Thursday and “Prohibition 2.0” was formally lifted.

The lines were predictably long and fed in part by neighboring states like Pennsylvania, where legalization remains a distant prospect, and New York, where recreational pot was approved in 2021 but is not yet for sale.

There are plenty of skeptics when it comes to cannabis legalization. There are also critics who say states like New Jersey — which expects to collect $30 million in cannabis revenue this year — aren't doing enough to address the lingering effects caused by decades of criminalization.

If you’re planning to make the trip east, there are a few things you’ll need to know to avoid a cannabis-related arrest of your own. 

And if you haven’t had cannabis since high school, there’s a few more things you should know to avoid getting excruciatingly high.

Here's how it works: 

Who can buy it? 

Like alcohol, you have to be at least 21 years old with an ID, and that’s pretty much it.

How much can I buy? 

Up to one ounce of dried flower (the form most people are familiar with); up to five grams of concentrates, resins, or oils (the latter often consumed via vape pens); and up to 1,000 milligrams of edibles. Note: These are limits, not recommended amounts. Most people will require much less.

Where can I buy it? 

Here’s a map of the dozen or so dispensaries currently cleared for recreational sales. As of Thursday, some were doing sales by appointment only, so maybe call ahead. 

How much does it cost?

Prices vary by location and product. Let this recreational menu from a dispensary in Paterson be a guide. Cannabis is still federally illegal, meaning most credit card companies won’t touch the proceeds. While debit cards might work at New Jersey dispensaries, cash is the safest bet.

Am I allowed to bring legally purchased cannabis from New Jersey into Pennsylvania? 

Definitely not. That’s illegal under Pennsylvania law and federal law for everyone: Pennsylvanians, Pennsylvania medical marijuana cardholders, and New Jerseyans, too.

Where can I consume it? 

Only on private property in New Jersey with the property owner’s permission. Also don’t consume there and then drive back to Pennsylvania. That’s a DUI in both states. (Seriously, don’t consume and drive at all.)

How much should I consume? 

The answer depends almost entirely on your experience with and tolerance for THC, pot’s main psychoactive ingredient. 

If you’re inhaling it for the first time in a while or ever, noted enthusiast Seth Rogen suggests starting with a small sip and waiting 15 minutes.

If you’re ingesting it for the first time in a while or ever, cannabis entrepreneur Annie Nelson — wife to Willie — suggests a small dose of between 2.5 milligrams and 5 milligrams and waiting up to two hours. Put another way: You can always add but you can’t subtract.

Colin Deppen, Spotlight PA

» Saturday, April 23: Get maple-y at The 75th annual Pennsylvania Maple Festival. Entry is $5 for adults and $.75 for children ages 6-12.

» Saturday, April 23: Pittsburgh's Art All Night is back with art, a warehouse, drinks, and more art, via Pittsburgh City Paper.

» Sunday, April 24: Give it away at Harrisburg's Really (Really) Free Market, a festival of mutual aid at the Broad Street Market in Midtown.

» Sunday, April 24: More than 50 food trucks will descend on Philly's Manayunk neighborhood for the StrEAT food festival

» Wednesday, April 27: Ridgway's Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous will bring carvers from around the world to Elk County. Here's how to join them.

» Friday, April 30: Brace yourself for the return of one of the biggest outdoor flea markets in the east — the Hazen Flea Market in Brookville.
Into the woods with Karen M. Send us your Pennsylvania pics by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania

» One thing we learned this week: A mountain near Gettysburg holds a bunker, dubbed the "Underground Pentagon," where a handpicked government would shelter from a nuclear attack, via Atlas Obscura. 

» One thing worth watching: The partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979 is about to get the Netflix treatment with a four-part documentary series from the producers of Erin Brockovich. It's available May 4.

» One thing worth seeing: The global debut of a Henri Matisse exhibit is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from Oct. 19 through January of 2023, per PhillyVoice. It will be the exhibit's only U.S. showing.

» One thing worth unseeing: Now running in Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senate primary: Jonor Fetterlamb. The literal embodiment of a political compromise, via @OregonMapGuy on Twitter.

» Two things worth knowing: Pennsylvania's six merging state universities can keep their respective sports teams; and the FBI will need to turn over documents from its search for fabled gold in Elk County.

» COVID-19 UPDATE: Keep up with our coronavirus tracker, or find where to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

» To use Pa.'s ‘compassionate release’ law, he had to choose to die

» 5 takeaways from Spotlight PA’s Republican gubernatorial debate

» Your guide to the Democratic and GOP candidates for governor

» Election 2022: Tell Spotlight PA what coverage matters to you
It's somehow true and false. While Alexander Hamilton spelled it "Pensylvania" in one section of the founding document, which is wrong by our current standards, the name was often spelled that way — and other ways — in the colonial era, including on the Liberty Bell.  

Benjamin Franklin also spelled it different ways on official currency, possibly as an anti-counterfeiting measure, further popularizing the options.

Thanks for reading PA Local! We'll see you back here next week. But first ... send us your feedback. What did you like? What didn't you like? What do you want to see more of? Or, tell us your secret food recipes!
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