When Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in early 2021, it opened the door to a whole new industry that has taken New Jersey by storm. As of mid-September, there were 54 dispensaries for recreational cannabis – compared to less than 20 a year ago. These businesses are spread across 17 of the state’s 21 counties, with about two-thirds selling both medical and recreational products and 13 for medical use only.
To further underscore how quickly this industry is growing, total sales for the second quarter of 2023 totaled $193 million, up from $139 million for the same period last year – representing nearly 40% growth. And most experts agree that, with the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) issuing a steady stream of permits to cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, and testing laboratories, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.
“We have seen some incredible growth, and quicker than we could have expected,” says Alisson Jensen, vice president of operations, sales & marketing at NJ Leaf in Freehold, which opened as a medical dispensary in March and was approved for recreational sales in June. “The local community and New Jersey cannabis community have been so welcoming and supportive of us, and we have been consistently tasked with how to keep up with the growth. It’s a great problem to have.”