New Jersey’s current medical cannabis operators can’t jump into the adult-use market just yet, as the Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced March 24 it wants to hear from those operators about how they’ll support both medical cannabis patients and adult-use cannabis customers.
CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said that the operators are about 100,000 pounds too short on product to be able to support both a medical and adult-use market. The CRC plans to visit the state’s eight alternative treatment centers in the coming weeks to evaluate if they can support both customer types.
“Our goal is to work with the industry, and the industry to work with us, so at the very next CRC meeting we have a cohort of ATCs that are turn-key to launch this market here, simply pending a vote by this commission,” Brown said.
The CRC also approved 68 cultivators and manufacturers for conditional licenses. Thirty-three of those approved are Black-owned businesses, nine are Hispanic or Latino-owned, and four are Asian-owned.
“These are the first businesses to get a foot forward in the state of New Jersey,” Brown said during the CRC meeting, noting he was “humbled” to announce their approvals.
New operators aren’t expected to open until the fall.
New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Edmund DeVeaux said the announcement marks a huge milestone for the state’s cannabis industry.
“By not rushing into this process and taking deliberate steps, the CRC has done it the right way. We are now closer to achieving our goals around legislative and regulatory intent to ensure that social equity and minority and women candidates are prioritized,” DeVeaux said. “If this had all been rushed out sooner, we would have been farther away from reaching those goals.”
“Doing things correctly was more important than doing things quickly. New Jersey is on its way, and we look forward to the next round of progress,” he said.
The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association, which is comprised of the state’s current ATCs and run by Harmony Dispensary owner Shaya Brodchandel, released a statement that it was “disappointed with today’s decision to further continue its delay.”
“In November 2020, New Jerseyans made it very clear that they wanted a safe and legal adult-use cannabis marketplace in the state. It goes without saying that no one could have foreseen that some 16 months later, we would still be waiting to see this come to fruition,” the NJCTA said.
Once established, the adult-use market will create 19,000 new jobs, according to the NJCTA. Cannabis trade magazine MJBizDaily projected in March that New Jersey adult-use marijuana sales will ramp up from $625 million to $775 million in 2022, to more than $2 billion a year by 2025 or 2026.
“When it comes down to it, it’s New Jersey’s citizens who are missing out,” the NJCTA said.