"Time and time again, we have seen that consumers prefer to obtain cannabis products from safe, licensed, above-ground retailers," Armentano said. "But, absent access to such facilities, the illicit market will continue to fill this void."
"Despite a mandate from their constituents, the majority of whom overwhelmingly voted in November to legalize adult-use marijuana sales in New Jersey, many local officials remain hesitant of the notion of licensing these operations in their communities. The irony is that marijuana sales are already taking place in these communities right now. But rather than taking place in licensed, regulated establishments, they are occurring on street corners without any oversight and without any monies generated from these sales filtered back into the community."
According to NORML, studies have repeatedly refuted the claims that retail marijuana establishments are linked with elevated crime rates. Research has also shown that they aren't linked to an increase in youth marijuana use. Some analyses have even concluded that retailers are associated with a rise in home values and in other "positive economic indicators."