New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market could be live in six months

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On Thursday, December 17, lawmakers in New Jersey passed a measure that permitted the imminent launch of a recreational cannabis industry. The state’s cannabis legalization bill was unanimously approved by The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate. 

Before a recreational cannabis market can transpire across New Jersey, the bill must first be sent to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk. Only when Murphy signs the bill will cannabis businesses be allowed to start operating statewide.

Once Murphy does the deed, retail cannabis business owners could be serving customers in as little as six months. No other recreational cannabis marketplace in the U.S. has gone into effect within such a short timeframe.

Major industry players stand to benefit from passing of New Jersey’s recreational cannabis bill

If New Jersey’s legal cannabis market transpires as quickly as reports suggest, a number of well-known cannabis players could be in a prime position to capitalize on the new industry. Some examples include Curaleaf Holdings Inc., Acreage Holdings Inc., Green Thumb Industries Inc., TerrAscend Corp. and Columbia Care Inc.

All of the aforementioned companies voiced their intentions to participate in New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market after state voters approved adult-use legalization in a ballot measure. The vote took place on Election Day in November 2020. Based on the results, 67 percent of respondents voted in support of legal weed, whereas almost 33 percent voted in opposition of the law.

The successful ballot measure was hailed by cannabis reform advocates as an important stepping stone to prevent as many as 32,000 cannabis arrests across the state each year; as estimated by NORML National. 

Should the market launch within the next six months, Missouri would make history as the fastest-moving U.S. state to enact cannabis legalization. Maine took the longest to kickstart its adult-use market at 47 months. Massachusetts trailed behind at just over two years.

New Jersey’s proposed cannabis sales taxes will benefit economy

As per the details of New Jersey’s recently-approved ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis, a 6.625 percent state tax will be imposed on all legal and licensed cannabis sales. An extra two percent tax could be charged by permitted municipalities.

The plant will be available to purchase for customers aged 21 and above. When sales commence, analysts predict that the market will harvest $126 billion on an annual basis. Conversely, Brightfield Group analysts predict that sales will top $460 million in 2021, before climbing to $1.5 billion in 2025.

Reports claim that recreational cannabis business licenses in New Jersey will be limited to just 37. A second round of licenses won’t be accessible until 2022.