On April 11, New Jersey permitted seven medical-marijuana companies to start selling recreational marijuana to people above the age of 21. This development comes almost a year and a half after the state’s voters passed a referendum regarding the issue. The bill also laid out guidelines for New Jersey’s marijuana industry.
Thanks to the bill’s passage, New Jersey is the second East Coast state to allow marijuana sales to individuals 21 years and older. The first state in the region to do so was Massachusetts.
Before the law’s passage, New Jersey residents could only buy their medicinal cannabis from state-run dispensaries. To use those facilities required a doctor’s permission.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved the seven companies to sell marijuana in New Jersey at thirteen sites. Once each company pays more than $1 million in fees and meets all other requirements, it will earn its final license required to sell marijuana to adults for recreational use.
Officials stated that the companies in question have shown that they would be able to provide cannabis for not just medical needs but also recreational use. The companies had to prove that patients would come first by demonstrating a plan to ensure patients get their supply before selling the product to others.
In addition to the seven approved companies, which are mostly run by large corporations, there is also a possibility that smaller entrepreneurs will have their applications approved. However, the commission will not approve those requests for at least another month.
Putting pressure on the commission, the president of the State Senate, Democrat Nick Scutari, stated he would hold public hearings should recreational marijuana not become available promptly. He pointed out that, since the voters themselves had come out in favor of the measure, it would be a failure to follow the will of his constituents if recreational use were not allowed.
After New Jersey passed its law in 2020, New York enacted legislation in March 2021 to legalize marijuana as well. Following that, Connecticut passed the legislature in July 2021. All laws are currently in effect.
Since February, the commission has additionally given conditional approval to over one hundred companies that produce cannabis. It is on the applicant to find an appropriate location and win approval from local authorities before they can move forward.