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Montclair, which missed out on getting first crack at recreational marijuana sales when New Jersey allowed sales on April 21, is now looking at next month for adult-use sales.
Last week, the Township Council adopted a resolution allowing Ascend Wellness, which currently sells medical marijuana in town, to also sell adult-use cannabis.
Ascend's application for a state license is now with the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission, and company officials hope it will be approved at the CRC's next meeting on May 24.
The New Jersey Supreme Court case that could decide how cannabis impairment is — or isn’t — measured by police is nearing a conclusion with multiple ramifications.
In question is the protocol and use of specially trained officers known as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), who perform marijuana sobriety tests. The case, State v. Olenowski, involves the state Office of the Public Defender challenging the scientific validity of how police officers detect drug impairment, including on drivers suspected to be under the influence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
For now, at least, the out-of-the-way facility in Egg Harbor Township is the closest location to buy legal cannabis for Cape May County residents, although that’s likely to change. The Borough Commission in West Cape May has supported two cannabis business proposals, a necessary step for those applying for licenses from the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.
The governing body supported the license application for Potent Petal LLC and Shorehouse Canna, LLC, according to Mayor Carol Sabo.
New Jersey has decided to jump start its adult-use market by issuing licenses to existing medical cannabis operators, referred to as Alternative Treatment Centers (or ATCs). Earlier this month, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) voted to allow seven established ATCs — comprised of well-financed multi-state operators (MSOs) — to begin adult-use cannabis sales at 13 dispensaries around the state.
Sharon Ali opened her pair of dispensaries for adult-use sales just after 10 a.m. on April 21.
New Jersey’s launch didn’t happen in time for marijuana culture’s biggest holiday—state officials cited the potential for “unmanageable logistical challenges” as reason for waiting another day. But the launch would still be a massive success.
While it was known for some time that these white-owned businesses would be allowed to open first, social justice advocates were stung by the lack of businesses owned by Black, Indigenous or people of color, especially given the state’s continued reassurance and laws to ensure racial justice. According to Leafly’s 2021 Seeds of Change report, only 2% of the nation’s legally operated cannabis companies are Black-owned. Meanwhile, Black New Jerseyans are over three times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts.
Customers who stood in long lines for the start of adult-use marijuana sales in New Jersey on April 21 bought about $1.9 million worth of cannabis and related products.
According to Bloomberg, 12,438 customers spent roughly $153 per purchase on the day New Jersey joined 17 other states and the District of Columbia as markets where recreational marijuana is legal.
On launch day, New Jersey regulators reported few initial glitches, although some customers had to stand in lines dozens of people long.
Thousands of people who lined up for the first day of legal retail sales at New Jersey’s marijuana dispensaries ended up spending around $153 apiece.
Dispensaries grossed $1.9 million from sales of weed and related products to 12,438 customers on the first sales day, April 21, according to the state cannabis commission.
Twelve of the 13 authorized sales locations were open that day, some with lines of hundreds of people. New Jersey voters approved the legalization of adult-use recreational marijuana in November 2020, and the regulatory framework took another 17 months.
Also, one of the 13 stores approved by regulators delayed its opening.
The store, owned by Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings in Edgewater Park, northeast of Philadelphia, attributed the delay to undisclosed details that needed to be resolved with the municipality.
New Jersey is the first East Coast recreational market to open in 18 months, following Maine in October 2020.
Will edibles ever become legal?
It’s a possibility. Since New Jersey lawmakers didn’t include edibles in legalization, they will need to pass new laws to make it happen. So, it’ll likely be over a year before this change happens.
The CRC oversees the state’s cannabis laws and legal operations. In a February commission meeting, its executive director Jeff Brown said that while commercial kitchens for making cannabis edibles are still a limitation, “Our goal is to continue to work to offer more products to patients.”