A recently published industry report warns that New Jersey’s limited number of legal, licensed and regulated cannabis dispensaries may harm the state’s ability to curtail the illicit cannabis marketplace.
Of the 14 states across the U.S. with legalized adult-use markets, New Jersey – with a population of 9.2 million – had the fewest stores per capita, coming in at 0.3 dispensaries per 100,000 people, according to a study done in partnership between cannabis use and education website Leafly.com and research firm Whitney Economics.
Though the state launched recreational cannabis sales in April, illegal street sellers still command more than 80% of the market, researchers said. As of July 1, the 26 legal adult-use and medical cannabis stores licensed and operating in New Jersey captured less than 20% of legal sales, the report found.
By contrast, Montana and New Mexico, which also kicked off recreational sales this year, have significantly more stores, enabling them to command a greater share of the total demand.
According to the report, Montana had 39 stores per 100,000 people and captures 78% of sales, while New Mexico’s six stores per 100,000 residents handled 75% of total demand.