Sales of adult-use cannabis in New Jersey for the third quarter of 2022 topped $100 million, according to recently released data from state officials. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission reported that sales of recreational marijuana from June 2022 through September 2022 totaled $116,572,533, representing a jump of 46% over the previous quarter. Sales of medical cannabis came to $61,138,231 during the same time period, bringing the total for combined medical and recreational marijuana sales to $177,710,764 for Q3 2022.
“New Jersey is only seeing the beginning of what is possible for cannabis” Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), said in a statement from the agency. “We have now awarded 36 annual licenses for recreational cannabis businesses to New Jersey entrepreneurs, including 15 for dispensaries. Those businesses alone will be a significant growth of the market. With more locations and greater competition, we expect the customer base to grow and prices to come down.”
New Jersey now has 20 dispensaries licensed to sell recreational marijuana, which was legalized with a referendum passed by voters in November 2020. Legislation legalizing commercial cannabis activity was passed by lawmakers the following month, and licensed sales of recreational marijuana began in April 2022.
“We are looking forward to seeing local, small business owners participate in this lucrative market,” said CRC chairwoman Dianna Houenou. “Our priority application process as well as new initiatives like the no-cost Cannabis Training Academy being launched by New Jersey Business Action Center in early 2023 are paving that path for them to be included.”
Another 10 dispensaries are licensed to sell medical marijuana to registered medical marijuana patients only. The medicinal use of cannabis was initially legalized in New Jersey in 2010, with subsequent legislation expanding the scope of the state’s medical marijuana program to encompass more patients and medical conditions.
George Archos, the founder and CEO of cannabis multistate operator Verano, said that sales were meeting expectations in New Jersey, where the company operates three Zen Leaf branded dispensaries.
“We’re thrilled to see the continued success of the cannabis industry in New Jersey,” Archos said in an email to NJ Advance Media late Friday. “The impressive revenue growth figures the Cannabis Regulatory Commission released from the third quarter are no surprise, given New Jersey’s large and dense population, robust summer tourism season, and proximity to other states without existing legal adult use cannabis programs.”
New Jersey Pot Retailers Now Face Nearby Competition
While sales of recreational marijuana in New Jersey have grown steadily since launching in April, the state’s weed retailers face new competition from New York, where regulated sales of adult-use cannabis began on December 29. But New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that he welcomes the expansion of regulated marijuana and that his state’s cannabis industry is ready for the competition from New York’s regulated operators.
“The Governor believes that a fair, regulated adult-use market for cannabis is a critical step toward advancing social justice on behalf of communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition,” Natalie Hamilton, press assistant to Murphy, said in a statement.
“The Governor is proud that New Jersey’s industry is serving as a model for other states in the nation and he looks forward to continuing our efforts to grow a cannabis industry that reflects the diversity of the state, protects access for medical marijuana patients, prioritizes justice, and promotes equal opportunities for communities of color,” added Hamilton.
Charles Gormally, an attorney specializing in cannabis law, said that the launch of retail cannabis sales in New York should be seen by New Jersey’s recreational marijuana industry as an incentive to produce high-quality products as a way to encourage consumers to buy locally.
“If a New York outlet has a great product, or a unique retail experience, or a great price — they certainly will attract market share from New Jersey sources,” said Gormally. “That said, New Jersey is the Garden State. We opened the market before New York, and I suspect when the start-up pain ends, there will be fantastic product, unique retail experiences, and consumption lounges — all of which might attract the New York cannabis consumer.”
“New Jersey should not view New York so much as a competitor but rather as a challenge to supply cannabis connoisseurs what they need to stay local,” he said. “Cannabis is not like a Broadway show after all,” adding, “In the adult use cannabis marketplace, the ultimate ‘spoils’ will belong to those outlets that have the most diverse product mix at the most competitive prices.”
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