Recreational marijuana sales in New Jersey could begin in a matter of weeks after state regulators on Monday gave seven medical marijuana facilities the greenlight to sell recreational cannabis.
The approval by the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission came nearly a year and a half after the state overwhelmingly voted in favor of marijuana legalization.
The commission did not set a specific date for when the facilities could begin to sell recreational pot, but a spokesperson for the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association said the group believes sales could begin by the end of April.
The facilities, called alternative treatment centers, must still pass a regulatory inspection of their operations and receive new licenses before they can sell their products.
The dispensaries must also have enough product so the new influx of customers does not affect New Jersey’s roughly 130,000 medical marijuana patients’ access to the drug.
Retail sales would begin in 13 dispensaries operated by the seven companies across the state, some of which are within a half-hour drive of New York City.
The commission estimates that there are roughly 800,000 potential recreational consumers in the state and less than 800,000 “tourism” consumers.
The state is anticipating revenue of $ 19 million in Gov. Phil Murphy’s $ 49 billion budget, which is currently pending in the state Legislature. In 2019, while campaigning for legalization, Murphy had estimated revenue of $ 60 million.
The state has imposed a 6.625% sales tax on marijuana, with 70% of the proceeds going towards areas disproportionately impacted by marijuana-related arrests in the past. Towns can also levy a tax of up to 2%.
“These approvals were given based on commitments from the ATCs that we would not see adverse effects with expansion,” commission chairperson Dianna Houenou said. “Expansion into the adult-use market – with a substantial advantageous start ahead of new applicants – is a privilege that must not be taken lightly.”
The commission also approved 34 conditional license applications for cultivators and manufacturers, bringing the number of conditional licenses approved so far to 102.
Over two-thirds of New Jersey voters supported the state’s referendum on marijuana legalization. On Monday, it became the third state on the East Coast after Massachusetts and Maine to fully authorize the sale of cannabis to adults.
Eighteen states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational marijuana. There are also 37 states, including New Jersey, that have legalized medical marijuana.
With Post wires