New Jersey is on the verge of allowing cannabis-infused baked goods and beverages to be sold at recreational dispensaries for the first time since recreational sales began in the state. Supporters of the move say the relaxing of rules will bring more options to consumers and potentially grow the market. State regulators and poison control experts are warning that such products must be handled with care, especially to keep them out of the hands of small children.
CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown
New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, along with several community partners, gathered in Trenton Wednesday to kick off the state’s first campaign promoting safe, legal weed use.
The campaign’s primary goal is to equip the public with information and resources to make informed choices about cannabis consumption, according to the CRC.
These messages will be shared through over 100 digital billboards placed across the state’s highways, as well as in bilingual ads posted in local community hubs and on social media platforms.
At its Sept. 8 meeting, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission proposed new rules that would allow for an expanded group of ingestible cannabis products – including baked goods, chocolates, butters, jams and drinks – to be sold in the medicinal and recreational markets.
Two of New Jersey’s biggest and most established cannabis operators are facing fines of $100,000 and $50,000 after the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) board members voted to issue steeper than recommended penalties for their violations.
New Jersey legalized adult-use cannabis in November 2020, but the state is an outlier among legal markets in limiting edibles products to “syrups, pills, tablets, capsules and chewables,” according to the newspaper.
But under the regulators’ proposal, marijuana operators in the state would be allowed to produce baked goods, butters, drinks and other infused products.
The proposal can’t be approved until December.
New Jersey’s adult-use marijuana market is caught in a “doom loop,” and the regulatory commission is responsible for the problems, according to a report by the state’s Cannabis Trade Association.
The report shows the slow pace of licensing, delta-8 THC products and poor enforcement of the illicit market means the state is losing out on millions in tax revenue, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Jeff Brown, executive director of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), said the agency is transparent about timelines.
At least for a while, the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association avoided criticizing the sate Cannabis Regulatory Commission as New Jersey’s legal weed industry took its first steps.
That restraint appears to be over. The trade group, whose members often describe it as the chamber of commerce of cannabis, issued a report this month blaming the state commission for the slow growth of the industry and comparing New Jersey unfavorably to other states with legal cannabis for adults.
Officials from the Cannabis Regulatory Committee faced more than two hours of grilling from lawmakers Friday during their first hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee in more than a year.
Legislators weren’t shy with their criticism. They accused the agency of pulling strings to reinstate the license of a major cannabis operator, being slow to approve applications, and holding the cannabis industry back with red tape.
“If you don’t get these licenses out the door faster, they’re just going out there selling more product on the street, on the black market. That’s what I’m seeing out there,” said Committee Chair Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson).
Republicans concurred. “I will be honest — what you’ve said doesn’t match what we’re hearing from constituents: that there’s a lack of transparency; big corporations get priority; process takes too long,” Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Bergen) commented.
A 9am Judiciary Committee Hearing on the state of cannabis in NJ drew hoards of spectators on a chilly rainy summer day. But things heated up quickly once the cannabis debate began. Here are some nuggets from today’s hearing