New Jersey's recreational marijuana industry opens its doors

New Jersey's recreational cannabis market is now open. On Thursday, recreational sales of cannabis to adults aged 21 or older will begin. The first alternative treatment centers in some parts of the state will open at 6 a.m.

New Jersey's recreational marijuana industry opens its doors

It's a major event. It's a moment when prohibition 2.0 is lifted in American history," stated Ben Kovler (chairman and CEO of Green Thumb Industries), which will open two new facilities in Bloomfield and Paterson on Thursday.

A week after Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced that state regulators have cleared the way for recreational cannabis sales at seven "alternative treatments centers," which already offer medical marijuana. These seven centers manage 13 facilities in the state.

New Jersey is one of 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have legalized recreational marijuana. New Jersey is one of the 37 states that have legalized medical cannabis.

"We have been working together with our community partners in order to ensure we mitigate lines and that we mitigate traffic. We also make sure that our staff are trained and how they can check IDs 21 or up and make sure all products are ready to go." Adam Goers, an executive from Columbia Care, which has dispensaries located in Vineland and Deptford, New Jersey told CBS Philly .

New Jersey is the first state to start recreational sales. Officials from New York state have stated that although New York is making progress towards a recreational market, sales will not begin until the end.

Pennsylvania is a neighbor and has legalized medical marijuana, but not recreational. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have passed ordinances that decriminalize marijuana, or give it low priority law enforcement. In March, Delaware's legislation to allow recreational marijuana was repealed.

"Narrower menu"

TerrAscend's president and chief operating officer, Ziad Ghanem said that in order to accommodate patients, the centers will have a "narrower selection" for recreational users.

New Jersey state regulators have said that dispensaries are permitted to sell up 1 ounce of marijuana. This means that they can sell 5 grams of concentrate, an ounce dried cannabis flower or 1,000 mgs of edibles like gummies. Perishable items such as cookies and brownies cannot be sold.

The facilities had to declare that they would not stop medical marijuana patients from accessing their cannabis. They must also meet social equity standards. These include providing technical knowledge to new cannabis businesses, particularly those who are located in economically distressed areas or have been convicted of cannabis-related crimes.

New Jersey's tax revenue is expected to rise, although it's unclear by how much. Murphy's budget for fiscal year 2023 is still before the Democrat-led Legislature. It estimates revenue of $19 million in a budget that amounts to nearly $49 billion. He had already estimated $60 million in revenue for 2019, when legalization of recreational cannabis was still pending before voters.

The recreational market legislation requires that the 6.625% sales taxes be applied. 70% of proceeds will go to areas most affected by marijuana-related arrests. Black residents were three times more likely to be charged with marijuana offenses than those of white heritage. A tax can be imposed by towns of up to 2 percent.

Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin reminded the police in a memo that marijuana unregulated remains an illegal substance.

New Jersey is seeing a rise in marijuana use, but some residents are opposed to it.

Keisha Allen stated that she was against legalizing it to CBS Philly. "I think we are legalizing future issues. This is just me. I don't like this, especially when it comes to kids who live in the community. We are sending the wrong message, I believe.


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