The day is here. Beginning today, April 21, 2022, adults 21 years old and over are able to legally purchase recreational marijuana in New Jersey. The state’s weed enthusiasts have been anticipating this date for years, and their joy is likely to be only slightly tempered by the fact that the launch date inexplicably just misses a really obvious 4/20 reference.
The New Jersey state legislature began the journey to 4/21 in November 2020, when it passed the Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization (CREAMM) Act, which officially allowed for the legal distribution and purchase of marijuana in New Jersey for recreational use. Earlier this week, the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission finally granted licenses to dispensaries to begin selling on April 21.
These dispensaries are controlled by so-called “alternative treatment centers,” which is amazing branding for businesses that sell marijuana.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called the beginning of sales a “historic step” for the state in a tweet, and New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission executive director Jeff Brown said in a press release that:
“New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly to have access to adult-use cannabis and it is now here. I am very proud of the work the Commission has done over the past year to open the market. We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”
So far only thirteen retail dispensaries are authorized to sell marijuana starting on April 21. They are scattered around the state, but a majority are clustered in the northeast, and south around Trenton and Philadelphia. No dispensaries are currently licensed in the northwest part of the state; sorry, Sussex County.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission confirmed to Gizmodo via email that the dispensaries open now are:
- Apothecarium, 1865 Springfield, Avenue, Maplewood
- Apothecarium, 55 South Main Street, Phillipsburg
- Ascend Wellness, 174 Route 17 North, Rochelle Park
- The Botanist, 100 Century Drive, Egg Harbor Township
- The Botanist, 2090 N Blackhorse Pike, Williamstown
- The Cannabist/Columbia Care, 1692 Clements Bridge Road, Deptford
- The Cannabist/Columbia Care, 1062 North Delsea Drive, Vineland
- Curaleaf, 640 Creek Road, Bellmawr
- Curaleaf, 4237 US-130 South, Edgewater Park
- RISE, 26-48 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield
- RISE, 196 3rd Avenue, #3C, Paterson
- Zen Leaf, 117 Sprint Street, Elizabeth
- Zen Leaf, 3256 Brunswick Pike, Lawrence Township
Note that the Cannabist is only open after 5PM for recreational sales.
For those interested in purchasing, the CREAMM Act states that people over 21 years old will be able to purchase and possess cannabis for recreational purposes.
In one purchase, customers can snag up to 1 ounce of dried cannabis bud, or 5 grams of oil or resin, or ten 100 milligram packages of edibles.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is currently accepting license applications for those interested in growing weed, manufacturing cannabis products, or opening a retail location.
The Cannabis Regulatory Commission has repeatedly noted that it is committed to making this fledgling industry “socially equitable” and diverse.
“We know that drug prohibition laws have through history disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities - and continue to do so,” said Wesley McWhite III, who is the Commission’s director of Diversity and Inclusion. “A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership.”
It’s worth noting that many Black and Brown entrepreneurs, however, have been skeptical of government interest in a socially diverse cannabis industry.
Updated 4/21/22 8:50 AM to reflect the current status of sales in the state.