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New Jersey Governor Marks ‘Huge Milestone’ For State’s Marijuana Market, With Over 100 Dispensaries Now Open



The governor of New Jersey is marking a “huge milestone” for his state’s marijuana market as regulators announce that more than 100 medical and adult-use cannabis shops are now open across the state.

“When the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission was established, our administration’s goal was to develop a stronger, fairer, and more equitable model for the rollout of an adult-use cannabis market,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in a press release on Wednesday. “Reaching 100 cannabis dispensaries is a huge milestone that shows we are headed in the right direction.”

“As we continue towards our goals for the cannabis market in New Jersey, I am grateful to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission for their dedicated work and leadership on this critical area of our economy,” he said.

The NJ-CRC says exactly 102 cannabis dispensaries have now opened, just under two years since adult-use sales launched.

Jeff Brown, executive director of the commission, echoed the governor’s remarks, saying it is “undoubtedly a major milestone for the NJ-CRC and for the state.”

“After having just 12 alternative treatment centers for more than eight years, we have seen a proliferation of businesses in the last two that clearly demonstrates consumer demand and the potential of the cannabis industry in New Jersey,” he said.

Of the 102 existing marijuana dispensaries, 40 serve both patients and adult consumers, 12 only serve patients and 50 conduct only recreational sales. The commission also points out that, despite 60 percent of New Jersey municipalities having opted out of allowing cannabis businesses, all 21 counties in the state have at least one type of marijuana operation and there’s at least one dispensary in 20 of 21 counties.

“Dispensaries are not the only cannabis businesses opening,” Brown said. “There are now more than 200 operating licenses in the state, including 23 cultivators and 15 manufacturers. With more businesses opening, we expect a competitive market that will be beneficial to consumers in price, product availability, and product quality.”

NJ-CRC Chair Dianna Houenou said the commission has been “thoughtful and deliberate about establishing New Jersey’s cannabis market that protects patient access, keeps New Jerseyans safe, and prioritizes equity.”

“It is heartening to see how well the market is thriving while accomplishing those commitments,” she said. “I look forward to seeing more municipalities open up to the industry so aspiring entrepreneurs can find opportunities, patients and consumers have more options to purchase safely, and the industry is strengthened.”

Meanwhile, NJ-CRC separately finalized regulations last month to allow marijuana consumption lounges in the state where people could buy and use cannabis products on-site.

Brown, the executive director, also recently projected that the state is positioned to see more than $1 billion in cannabis sales this year with the growing number of licensed businesses where people can purchase marijuana.

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The state’s marijuana market has continued to evolve in other ways since shops opened. For example, state cannabis regulators started accepting public comment last October on proposed rules to expand the types of edible cannabis products that could be sold at licensed retailers, including beverages, chocolates, baked goods and jams.

Regulators have already waived certain requirements to authorize the sale of additional marijuana edible types.

The NJ-CRC has also looked into adopting new rules that would create a permit to allow “clinically focused” cannabis dispensaries to enter into partnerships with research institutions to carry out cannabis studies using products that they grow or sell to patients.

Meanwhile, New Jersey lawmakers are gearing up for a busy 2024, filing over a dozen bills touching on issues that include marijuana interstate commerce, home grow, banking and employment protections.

In December, the governor and state attorney general separately announced the recipients of $5.2 million in hospital-based violence-intervention grants funded with revenue from state-legal marijuana.

Also that month, New Jersey opened applications for the second phase of a marijuana social equity funding program, which will make $150,000 grants to awardees and offer eight weeks of technical assistance.

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Photo courtesy of WeedPornDaily.

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