If the projections are believed, New Jersey’s legal recreational marijuana sales could generate a LOT of money, 2 billion dollars worth. There is a “but,” and it’s a big one. The state has been dragging its feet about legislating the retail sales of weed. Voters approved the legislation in November 2020, but there is still no exact date for when the market is expected to be opened up freely. Not to mention that there are only a few of the state’s existing medical cannabis dispensaries that will be able to operate in a retail capacity.
New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market is gearing up to launch within weeks of this writing, with annual sales projected to top $2 billion within a few years. Making it one of the largest cannabis markets on the East Coast and the first in the coveted Northeastern Corridor.
The first legal sales to recreational cannabis users are expected to come from the existing medical marijuana companies. It was supposed to have happened by now. It is still illegal to buy weed in NJ without a medical card, and adult users (over 21) are still waiting for the changes to come into effect.
To make matters more complicated. The beginning of legal, recreational pot sales will also affect social equity applicants, still learning how to run a business and get the financing for their properties instead of the established medical companies. Who are ready to begin selling to recreational users as soon as they get the go-ahead.
According to industry experts, this could have them and other small operators running 18 months behind, and that is a long time to be playing catch up to bigger businesses.
RELATED READING: Connecticut Beats New York to Recreational Cannabis Legalization
New Jersey Poised To Be The First Market In The Prized Northeast Corridor
The Northeast Corridor has been at the forefront of legalizing pot, and New Jersey is first in line to benefit from it.
Eight companies that own part of the 23 medical cannabis dispensaries in New Jersey have applied to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission for permission to start selling to the adult user for recreation at a retail level.
In theory, as of February 22nd, adults in New Jersey could walk up and buy their herb of choice and go about their day. As we know, that didn’t happen. The deadline set by the state for legalized cannabis sales a year ago came and went.
New Jersey is in a unique position, with millions of people in neighboring states; expected out-of-state customers would drive up demand and boost sales for New Jersey retailers. It is still against the law to carry cannabis across state lines. So best they abide by those laws.
Localities and The Home Rule
You can lawfully possess up to six ounces of marijuana under New Jersey pot legalization regulations. But this doesn’t mean you’re allowed to buy or use it publicly.
The adherence of New Jersey to “home rule,” or the flexibility given to municipal governments, as adopted in California, has created significant issues. More than 70% of New Jersey municipalities have chosen to ban cannabis businesses entirely. Some cities have implemented their formal application processes, which can come with hefty fees.
New Jersey communities have struggled to deal with a newly legal cannabis industry, with many locals deciding to keep dispensaries out and restricting where they may open.
Supply Vs. Demand Could Be a Problem
The final question is, will there be enough to go around?
Even with existing cannabis operators having maintained that since November 2021, they are ready to sell recreational weed to eager customers who want to buy cannabis legally for the first time in their lives, not to mention those who rely on medical cannabis, there may be a supply shortage.
A Final Thought
It’s hard to tell when this situation will be resolved. The financial benefits for the economy far outweigh the stigma attached to having weed for sale to the masses. Not just for New Jersey , but countrywide.
Hopefully, dispensaries stock up for when the day arrives.
Want more news and breaking information on what’s happening in the cannabis space? Head over to the Beard Bros website for a wealth of cannabis content.