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New Jersey Marijuana Sales Officially Top $2 Billion Since 2018, Top Regulator Says, While Encouraging Lawmakers To Explore Home Grow



New Jersey’s top marijuana regulator says the state has officially surpassed $2 billion in medical and recreational marijuana sales since 2018, and he also encouraged lawmakers to explore the possibility of giving medical cannabis patients a home grow option.

Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC), made the comments during a marijuana-focused hearing before the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee on Thursday.

“Today I’m also proud to announce another milestone. Since we started this work in 2018, cumulative sales of both medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis have eclipsed $2 billion,” Brown said, adding that the “vast majority” of those sales have come over the past two years since New Jersey’s adult-use marijuana market launched.

“But as of as of yesterday at noon, we were about to $2,000,500,000 in total cannabis sales,” he said. “I would love for the CRC to take credit for this, but it’s really the entrepreneurs who have been putting their money, their lives and their dreams on the line to make this happen.”

Brown—who recently predicted that the state will “reach and surpass” a $1 billion annual cannabis sales milestone this year—also responded to a committee member’s question about the current lack of a home grow option for medical marijuana patients.

He started by explaining that cannabis patient registrations have been on the decline, acknowledging that the process to become a patient can be costly and time-intensive and that the emergence of the adult-use market may be contributing to the trend.

With respect to home cultivation, Brown said “that’s not in our purview” to allow as regulators, but that he would “certainly encourage the legislature to look at it and to your due diligence on that.”

“We certainly hear about it all the time and hear from patients all the time that they would like the ability to home grow,” he said. “I know our neighbors in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts all allow home grow. But from where I sit, we don’t have jurisdiction over that. And I would certainly encourage you to look and do due diligence.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has also been pressed on the home grow issue on several occasions, and he’s said that while he’s “very open-minded” to the reform, he feels the adult-use market needs to mature more before that option becomes widely available.

Last week, the governor also touted a “huge milestone” for his state’s marijuana industry as regulators announced that more than 100 medical and adult-use cannabis shops are now open across the state.

Thursday’s meeting—which also involved testimony from an equity grant recipient, a union organizer, other stakeholders and a representative of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA)—was the first of two planned hearings on cannabis legalization, the committee chair said.

“We are now seeing the next generation of growth in New Jersey, and it’s sparked as a result of this industry,” Chairman Reginald Atkins (D) said at the close of the marijuana pun-laden discussion.

A representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) said during his testimony while New Jersey “has taken significant steps” on marijuana reform, “federal oversight is crucial for ensuring consistency and accountability across state lines.”

“We must work together to push for comprehensive federal legislation that upholds the rights of cannabis workers nationwide,” he said.

The equity grant recipient who testified discussed the importance of the state providing funding opportunities to promote diversity in New Jersey’s marijuana industry, arguing that the two most critical barriers to entry are access to capital and eduction.

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

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.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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Regulators have been consistent in their efforts to build upon the state’s marijuana law—which has included rulemaking around expanded edible product offerings, as well as recently finalized rules to allow for cannabis consumption lounges.

The commission has already waived certain requirements to authorize the sale of additional marijuana edible types.

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.

New Jersey lawmakers have filed over a dozen cannabis-related bills for the session, touching on issues that include marijuana interstate commerce, home grow, banking and employment protections.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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