When the pandemic started, medical cannabis dispensaries were deemed "essential businesses" in New Jersey. Green Thumb Industries, which operates two Rise medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, said the categorization of these cannabis businesses as "essential" pushed the industry forward.
The shift from illicit to essential business helped destigmatize the industry, which is now set to expand into recreational cannabis after New Jersey voters chose to legalize marijuana in November.
That, the folks at Green Thumb Industries say, is cause for celebration.
Patch asked Green Thumb Industries Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Dooley to explain what the distinction meant to the industry, what to expect in the years to come, and what the dispensaries in Paramus, Paterson and across their company are doing to celebrate their "year of essential."
Dooley: This April marks the one-year anniversary of cannabis being deemed an "essential" business. Locally, this meant our operations could continue throughout the coronavirus-related closures and stay-at-home orders to continue serving our patients and customers. Over the past year, more Americans have turned to cannabis as a way to ease their anxiety, get a better night's sleep or just relax after a long day. The "essential" designation allowed us to continue to serve our communities through these tough times.