NJ approves seven recreational cannabis facilities

Recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey could begin in weeks after state regulators Monday gave the green light to seven medical marijuana facilities to sell recreational cannabis.

The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s approval came nearly a year and a half after the state voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana.

The commission did not set a specific date for when facilities can begin selling recreational cannabis, but a spokesman for the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association said the group expects sales could begin by the end of April.

The facilities, called alternative treatment centers, have yet to pass a regulatory inspection of their operations and obtain new licenses before they can sell their products.

Dispensaries must also have enough product on hand so that the new influx of customers doesn’t affect access to the drug for New Jersey’s approximately 130,000 medical marijuana patients.

Retail sales would begin at 13 pharmacies operated by the seven companies statewide, some of which are within a half-hour drive of New York City.

The commission estimates that there are around 800,000 potential recreational users and fewer than 800,000 “tourism” users in the state.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks to reporters during a briefing in Trenton, NJ on Monday, February 7, 2022.
In 2019, while campaigning for marijuana legalization, Murphy had estimated sales of $60 million.
AP/Seth Little

The state expects to receive $19 million from Gov. Phil Murphy’s $49 billion budget currently pending in the state legislature. In 2019, while campaigning for legalization, Murphy had estimated sales of $60 million.

The state has levied a 6.625% sales tax on marijuana, with 70% of the proceeds going to areas that have historically been disproportionately hit by marijuana-related arrests. Cities can also impose a tax of up to 2%.

“These permits were granted on the basis of commitments from the ATCs that we would not see any adverse effects from the enlargement,” said Commission Chair Dianna Houenou. “Expanding into the adult market – with a significant head start over new entrants – is a privilege not to be taken lightly.”

A general view of a yes vote for legalizing marijuana on the lawn in Hawthorne, NJ on December 13, 2020.
New Jersey is the third East Coast state, after Massachusetts and Maine, to fully legalize the sale of cannabis to adults.
Christopher Sadowski

The Commission also approved 34 conditional license applications for growers and manufacturers, bringing the number of conditional licenses approved to date to 102.

Over two-thirds of New Jersey voters supported the state’s referendum on legalizing marijuana. On Monday, it became the third East Coast state, after Massachusetts and Maine, to fully legalize the sale of cannabis to adults.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. There are also 37 states, including New Jersey, that have legalized medical marijuana.

With mail wires NJ approves seven recreational cannabis facilities


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