Cannabis News

New Jersey Governor Says Let’s Start Selling Weed! Recreational Cannabis Sales to Begin Soon?


Good news for cannabis users in New Jersey. Governor Phil Murphy has confirmed that recreational cannabis could be made available this month. This news comes a full year and weeks after the bill was enacted. The Democratic governor made the announcement days after the proposed D-Day for the cannabis market launch. Murphy didn’t give a specific date for the impending launch but said it could begin before the end of March. He said if he could predict an exact date, he would definitely make sure it fell in March.

The Governor made the statement on his WBGO show on Newark Radio.

Murphy pointed out that the imminent launch of the recreational cannabis market will drive the implicit movement for medical cannabis in licensed dispensaries. He noted that some of these dispensaries could receive permits to sell weed for adult use while waiting for other operators to obtain a licence. The governor said state medical dispensaries must prove they can continue to supply medical patients even when the recreational market opens up.

New Jersey Recreational Cannabis Legislation

Accredited voters in the state approved legislation to legalize recreational cannabis in the November 2020 general election. 67% of New Jersey voters passed Question 1 on the ballot to show their support for the creation of a market for cannabis for adult use.

Following this approval, the state established the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) to oversee activities in the proposed market. The committee also drafted the rules and regulations for the new market.

The approved law required the CRC to accept applications from interested cannabis companies beginning in September 2021. However, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission missed this deadline. Instead, they postponed it to December. The commission’s reason for the postponement was that it was still in the process of establishing a procedure for accepting, reviewing and evaluating nominations.

The submission of applications finally began on December 15 for producers, processors and laboratories. The CRC then announced that it would begin accepting applications from recreational cannabis retailers by March 15, 2022. It remains unclear if this is still possible.

Another legislative deadline has been missed.

Many cannabis advocates have complained that the CRC is failing in its duty to obey or meet the deadlines set out in the approved bill. According to the legislation, the regulatory committee must have launched official sales of cannabis for adult use by mid-February 2022, or at the latest within six months of the approval of the first regulation. That means regulators have once again missed another deadline.

This late misfire comes as no surprise to many as Murphy had already mentioned in September that the launch was unlikely to take place in February. There is no specific date to wait for except wait for the days to pass this month.

When adult-use sales finally roll out, medical cannabis stores across the state will be the first to sell recreational cannabis to cannabis users. Currently, these dispensaries serve approximately 125,000 registered cannabis patients in the state. These stores are doing everything they can to stock up in anticipation of the influx of recreational users in a few weeks. Once all applications have been reviewed and applicants have been licensed, retailers would begin selling cannabis flower, concentrates, vapes, and other cannabis products or accessories in New Jersey.

However, the above plan to include medical cannabis dispensaries in the launch of the new market is subject to change. Governor Murphy insists the only way he can allow those stores to participate in the impending launch is to prove they are ready for the influx of customers. Otherwise, interested residents who have been waiting so long for suitable retail establishments may have to wait longer until suitable independent cannabis retail establishments have been established.

Medical dispensaries have also applied

At least eight out of ten medical cannabis businesses in New Jersey have applied to receive recreational retail licenses. Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) executive director Jeff Brown said about five of those applications were deemed worthy of approval. But further reviews are still being done by the agency to be sure.

In January, Brown announced that licensing approvals were being delayed by several uncontrollable factors. He explained that consent must be obtained from certain local authorities before final decisions can be made. The legislature requires municipalities across the state to approve retail offerings from existing medical cannabis dispensaries looking to expand into the adult-use market. The city would make this decision based on the services rendered by the company’s medical cannabis stores.

Brown said the biggest challenge with the applications is that many municipalities refuse to approve the applications. At the commission’s meeting in January, Brown said the lack of municipal approvals could escalate into a big problem. For example, supply in those parts of the state would be limited. CRC assured the audience that it was committed to getting the adult use market launched as soon as possible. Cannabis Syndicates can also be part of the NJ framework.

Patrick Johnson, chairman of the North East region of Curaleaf, criticized the commission’s delay in implementing the provisions of the legislation. He said some medical companies that worked with the February date may have to start dumping products if the new market doesn’t launch soon. This loss would also result in the dismissal of workers. Johnson added that the commission must understand that it cannot establish a perfect market from the start. The long wait and missed deadlines would only lead to the loss of better opportunities for the sector and its operators.

Conclusion

Many are hoping the governor will keep his promise to launch the market this month. Especially medical cannabis stores that have doubled or tripled their inventory in preparation for the impending launch. The governor’s obsession with a perfectly established market is taking too long. Keep your fingers crossed whether or not the market will launch this month.

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