“The market is developing, and we don’t want to hinder that. The New Jersey canopy is currently only 418,000 square feet—far below the average of other states with legal cannabis,” said Commissioner Maria Del Cid-Kosso. “New Jersey currently has only one cultivation license for every 197,000 residents. The national average is one license for every 31,000 residents. We have a lot of room to grow. We expect that lifting the cap will open the space for more cultivators, ultimately resulting in more favorable pricing and better access for patients and other consumers.”
Cannabis Cultivation Facility Limits
For cultivators who can overcome those headwinds, an attractive market awaits.
Will Perry, CEO of Oregon cultivator Magic Hour Cannabis, is working to launch production in New Jersey, teaming up with a local partner who has access to the necessary real estate.
Oregon marijuana prices have crashed, with the median wholesale price hitting $599 per pound in February.
In New Jersey, however, Perry expects premium marijuana could earn at least $4,500 per pound.
With New Jersey’s legal marijuana market off to slow start, state officials announced Wednesday they would eliminate the cap on the number of companies allowed to grow weed and make $10 million in grants available to people opening a cannabis business who have been convicted of marijuana offenses or come from poor communities.
Among the regulations enacted by the commission:
Capping cultivation licenses was a major point of contention between New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s office and the state Legislature. The limit of 37 in the next two years was a compromise, according to Jeff Brown, executive director of New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
Brown acknowledged that the limit will be something New Jersey will need to work around, but he stressed that the state has no limit on the amount of licenses that can go to microbusinesses, defined for cultivation purposes as places with 10 or fewer employees that span 2,500 or fewer square feet.
Known as the NJWeedman, Edward Forchion is upfront about his underground weed business. He opened a storefront on E State Street in Trenton where he sells everything from flowers, cannabis concentrates and edibles. With the state still months away from actually opening up its marijuana marketplace, NJWeedman's Joint is one of the only places defying the government's rollout.
"I say I'm like the people's champ right now...the Robinhood reefer," Forchion said.
Let’s start with the first cannabis question on everyone’s mind: How soon will people be able to buy legal recreational marijuana in New Jersey?
I suspect this time next year will be the earliest you’ll be able to walk in and buy recreational cannabis at a retailer or order online for home delivery in New Jersey.
Can small businesses and mom-and-pops without previous experience join in the green rush? The law calls for 37 initial licensees.
Members of the New Jersey state Assembly and Senate have given final approval to legislation permitting the possession of marijuana by adults and regulating its commercial production and retail sales. Each of the measures now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. The Assembly approved A21 by a 49 to 24 vote with six abstentions, and the Senate later approved S21 by a 23 to 17 vote.
Senate Bill 21 and Assembly Bill 21 establish regulatory guidelines for the marijuana market. Under the bills, adults may legally purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis. The measures cap the number of commercial cultivators permitted under the law at 37 for the first two years. The measures direct 70 percent of the revenue derived from sales taxes on retail marijuana purchases toward reinvestment in designated communities that have been most adversely impacted by prohibition.
Here are some of the key differences between the measures passed Thursday by the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Senate Budget Committee, according to the Associated Press: