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Last month New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) said legal marijuana sales would start “within weeks,” but there were plenty of doubters. After all, voters approved an adult-use cannabis marketplace in 2020, and the goal posts kept shifting of when it would actually happen. Lawmakers still had to pass additional legislation implementing the law in 2021.
But the day is here: Anyone 21 and over can officially buy legal weed in The Garden State on April 21. Yes, it’s a day after 4/20, but you have to take what you can get, New Jersey.
Murphy made the announcement via Twitter saying, it’s “a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry.”
“This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” Jeff Brown, executive director of New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) said in a press release. “I am very proud of the work the Commission has done over the past year to open the market. We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”
Where to find it
To start, seven existing medical cannabis businesses will start selling at 13 dispensaries across the state. There will be an updated list on the commission’s website. For those able to participate on opening day, it’s definitely party time.
According to Benzinga, the alternative treatment centers, which are multi-state operators to begin operating, allowed to sell include Acreage Holdings, Ascend Wellness, AYR Wellness, Curaleaf, Green Thumb, Columbia Care, TerrAscend and Verano Holdings.
“The end of prohibition is coming to New Jersey,” Ben Kovler, chief executive of Green Thumb Industries, told the New York Times. “We’re prepared for a tidal wave of demand.”
His dispensaries located in Bloomfield and Paterson, about 20 miles from Midtown Manhattan, plan to have DJs, doughnut trucks, and a steel drum band to entertain customers waiting in line. In other towns, local officials are trying to figure out ways of dealing with extra crowds and traffic.
At this point, it’s also a supply and demand issue. Demand, naturally, will be high. But in order for each cannabis company to be allowed to sell, it had to demonstrate to the commission that it had enough supply for both medical and recreational customers to ensure the latter don’t buy up everything the former is accustomed to.
Demand is high
Curaleaf, one of the biggest cannabis companies in the state, which also recently expressed dismay at officials dragging their feet on opening the legal marketplace, suggests medical card holders shop and stock up now to avoid the rush. “The Garden State is about to get greener, so if you’re a medical patient, make sure you shop now to avoid the lines — and get the medicine you need,” an advertisement read.
That was also part of the reason for a more measured rollout, says the commission. Also why sales don’t start on 4/20, arguably the biggest weed shopping and smoking day of the year.
“We remain committed to social equity,” CRC chair Dianna Houenou said. “We promised to build this market on the pillars of social equity and safety. Ultimately, we hope to see businesses and a workforce that reflect the diversity of the state, and local communities that are positively impacted by this new and growing industry.”