What to know about buying fireworks in New Jersey
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was first published in June 2018.
With the Fourth of July here, it is hard to walk down the aisles of most any convenience store or pharmacy in New Jersey without noticing fireworks for sale.
This marks the first time that the items are widely available after then-Gov. Chris Christie legalized some, but not all, of the items people associate most with Independence Day celebrations.
Several law enforcement agencies across the state including the South Brunswick Police Department have shared information identifying which items are for sale.
- Sparklers — Sparkling devices that include items like morning glories and wire stick sparklers
- Smoke Devices — These emit a cloud of smoke including smoke balls, and toy smoke devices.
- Novelties — This includes party poppers that emit a shower of confetti. Cannot have more than .25 grains of pyrotechnic mixtures. Items like snappers, drop pops and snakes that emit black ash are included in this group.
"Non-aerial" sparking devices
- Ground Sparkling Devices — These devices spin on the ground and can emit flames and sparks. They can be a ball and disk or cylindrical.
- Sparkling Wheel Devices — These devices spin on a post and can emit flames and sparks. These devices should be nailed to a post or a stake for safe usage.
- Ground Based Sparklers — These can come in several shapes, including cylindrical, square, or cone-shaped. California Rocket Shaped Fountains are also included in this category. They cannot have more than 500g of pyrotechnic mixture.
While there is a wide variety of items now legal in New Jersey, there are also many things that cannot be purchased or used in the state. These include:
Aerial Consumer fireworks (except as permitted for public displays)
- Items in this category include sky or bottle rockets, firecrackers, reloadable shell devices or Roman candles, aerials or a "single tube device with report."
The law signed by Christie allows legal items to be stored, sold in retail stores and used by people 16 years or older.
In addition to selling the items in stores, a company called Keystone Fireworks has also set up a series of tents across the state to sell the legal items. An employee of one of the tents set up in Howell told New Jersey 101.5 that there has definitely been an interest in what they're selling, but that there is still competition from Pennsylvania where the bigger items are legal to buy.
The man said people who come to the tent will ask if they have the more powerful items "hidden" somewhere, but said he tells them "no, I don't have it. I'm not selling it here.
"A lot of people tell me they're going to Pennsylvania and get the stuff," he said. "This is exciting but a lot of people don't like this as much as the big explosive stuff."
The full text of the law can be found here.
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