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New Jersey To Kick Off Recreational Cannabis Sales Thursday

April 19, 2022

Just a day late, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy announced that recreational cannabis sales will begin this week on April 21, the day after the unofficial cannabis holiday 4/20. “Starting on April 21st, adults ages 21+ will be able to legally purchase cannabis and cannabis products without a medical card. This is a historic step in our work to create a new cannabis industry,” Murphy tweeted.

The first wave of operators that were given the green light to open their doors this week are something of a who’s-who of the U.S. cannabis industry, with licenses extended to Acreage Holdings, Ascend Wellness, Columbia Care (which recently agreed to be acquired by Cresco Labs), Curaleaf Holdings, Green Thumb Industries, TerrAscend, and Verano Holdings. The seven companies collectively operate 13 retail locations across New Jersey. Only around seven of those are expected to be open for business for the first day of sales, the New York Times reported. A list of dispensaries that will be open Thursday is forthcoming from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

“New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to have access to adult-use cannabis and it is now here,” said New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission executive director Jeff Brown. “We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”

The biggest short-term challenge for the state’s cannabis industry is balancing recreational sales against maintaining a reliable supply for medical consumers. While the seven companies that will start selling this week have robust, established cultivation operations in the state, the initial wave of demand may strain supplies. Regulators have given conditional approval to 102 other companies to grow or manufacture cannabis products but those greenhouses and production lines are not yet rolling.

Recreational cannabis sales in New Jersey are projected to fall somewhere around $700 million this year, according to one estimate, and to reach more than $2 billion within three years.—Danny Sullivan

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