It’s been just one month into adult use cannabis sales in New Jersey, and the state’s retailers have sold more $24 million in cannabis products from more than 200,000 transactions, regulators said Tuesday.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission held its first public meeting since sales went live on April 21 in the state, which is expected to have one of the most robust industries in the nation. (Read Cannabis Wire’s ongoing coverage of New Jersey’s launch of cannabis sales.)
“It sounds big,” CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said on Tuesday, referencing the sales numbers, adding that they highlight a “tremendous amount of opportunity still in this market for new businesses to come in and serve this market and be successful.”
“There’s a lot of growth left in this market. There’s a lot of opportunity left in this market, still,” Brown said. “We do anticipate that this will ramp up, particularly as new dispensaries are approved, new cultivators are approved, and a lot of the conditional applicants that we have approved are able to come back and convert to annual licenses and actually begin operating.”
On Tuesday, members of the Commission voted to approve the first new adult use retail licenses in the state, awarding a total of 11. So far, only seven of the state’s existing medical cannabis companies have begun adult use sales, and have done so through applications to expand. The CRC has received more than 1,000 applications for various adult use license types, and has awarded 152.
“It does not mark the end of our process. It simply marks an important step in a multi-year effort to make New Jersey’s industry the best it can be,” said CRC Chair Dianna Houenou. Throughout the year, the CRC will focus on the adoption of additional adult use cannabis rules, “modernizing” the existing medical cannabis rules, compliance efforts, and sharing of information and data related to the state’s cannabis industry, Houenou said.
Voters passed a legalization initiative on Election Day 2020 and Gov. Phil Murphy signed an implementation bill last February. Rules require that equity applicants be given priority access to adult use licenses and calls for 30% of licenses to be allocated for equity applicants, which include people of color, women, and disabled veterans. Brown said on Tuesday that regulators will release this demographic data quarterly, starting this June.
“We are still seeing issues, particularly where it relates to priority designation applicants missing materials to qualify them as a social equity business or a diversity owned business or an impact zone business, even though they say they qualify as such,” Brown said.
Overall, with the start of adult use sales, there’s been “good compliance, but there have been some hiccups,” particularly related to some of the patient-only hours and some of the reporting requirements, Brown said.
“Launching with 12 dispensaries for a state at 9.3 million is no easy task,” Brown said, thanking staffers who worked specifically in compliance. “Although there were long lines on the first day of the first weekend, even some long lines in places now still, it has gone about as smooth as we could hope.”