Delays plague New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis market

Cannabis-loving New Jerseyans have been left high and dry as they wait impatiently for the chance to buy legal bud.

The green plant was legalized for recreational purposes on? , with sales slated to begin on April 1. However, the wait continues.

State Senate President Nick Scutari (D) has voiced his frustration to reporters, with the Democratic party member saying that delays in launching the state’s adult-use cannabis market are completely unacceptable,

The Cannabis Regulatory Commission that provides oversight for the nascent industry is tasked with approving the first round of conditional licenses to lucky applicants. 

These licenses are earmarked for people specializing in the cultivation and manufacturing of medicinal grade cannabis. 

On top of this, five additional cannabis treatment centers are also anticipated to gain approval, all of which are already actively serving patients registered under the state’s existing program. 

Owners of the treatment centers are hoping to scale their business by reaching adult-use consumers once the market is fully up and running.

Should the commission approve each of the five centers, they will be the only facilities that are granted authority to legally serve both the medical and recreational consumer demographics in New Jersey.

Their 90-day review process ended on March 15.

Non-medical customers expected to purchase cannabis in New Jersey between late April and May

On Thursday, March 24, the commission was expected to launch a 30-day notification period for the five alternative treatment centers to begin legal cannabis sales. 

That would mean that non-medical customers can get their hands on legally sold cannabis by April or early May – a time period that lines up with Gov. Phil Murphy’s updated fiscal year 2022 state budget proposal.

Based on his revised proposal, New Jersey should be on-track to pull in $4 million in cannabis sales revenue by June 30. However, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission missed its own deadline at the end of February due to incomplete applications from the treatment centers.

On Wednesday, March 23, 272 applications had been received by the commission.

Cultivators are expected to spend several months finalizing facilities and crops

Once New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis sales do eventually begin, growers and manufacturers who have been approved to participate in the industry are expected to take anywhere between six and nine months constructing their facilities

Only once this stage is complete can New Jersey’s license holders begin selling cannabis. Their conditional licenses were awarded under the terms of a social equity measure that provides smaller growers and manufacturers with early priority.

Murphy inked his signature on the 216-page bill on February 22, . The first wave of license applications began on Dec. 15 from cannabis growers, product manufacturers and testing labs.