New Jersey legal weed sales can begin April 21, state officials announced Thursday
The state Cannabis Regulatory Commission said it will issue licenses to seven medical marijuana dispensaries, officially known as alternative treatment centers, to also sell recreational marijuana beginning on April 21.
The seven treatment centers are now clear to sell adult-use cannabis at 13 locations across the state. It is now up to each of them to decide when they will open.
Company representatives of six alternate treatment centers — Ascend, Curaleaf, GTI, Acreage, Verano and TerrAscend — told NJ Advance Media they want to open at least some of these facilities on April 21.
Those alternative treatment centers have been approved to sell recreational cannabis at their medical marijuana sites in Bellmawr, Edgewater Park, Bloomfield, Paterson, and Phillipsburg and Maplewood, Rochelle Park, Elizabeth, Lawrence, Williamstown and Egg Harbor.
A spokeswoman for Verano said late Thursday that the company is planning to begin recreational cannabis sales at its sites in Elizabeth and Lawrence on April 21.
Acreage said it is aiming to kick off sales at The Botanist Williamstown and The Botanist Egg Harbor that day.
Acsend said it wants to begin sales at its Rochelle Park facility.
Green Thumb, which uses the RISE banner, confirmed to NJ Advance Media that RISE Bloomfield and RISE Paterson will open next Thursday at 6 a.m.
Under CRC guidelines, registered patients may purchase up to 3.0 ounces of a medicinal cannabis product from an alternative treatment center every 30 days, though the dosage is directed by the authorizing health care provider.
Marijuana recreational users will be able to purchase up to 1.0 ounces in a single transaction when licensed dispensaries open next Thursday.
The CRC said it would provide a list of which locations will open on April 21 on its website as soon as the alternative treatment centers make their decisions.
“This is an exciting time for New Jersey,” said Cannabis Regulatory Commission executive director Jeff Brown. “We have been intentional and deliberate to do everything in our power to set the market on good footing to start.”
The commission on Monday gave initial approval to seven alternative treatment centers: Curaleaf, Verano, GTI, Acreage, TerrAscend, Columbia Care and Ascend Wellness.
A source representing one of the approved alternative treatment centers told NJ Advance Media that none are ready to open Monday or Tuesday, and Wednesday is 4/20, a day of celebration for cannabis users, “which the regulators want to avoid at all costs in opening any stores” due to fears of draining supplies. Thus, the source said, “Thursday is go time.”
Commission leaders stressed that alternative treatment centers will be required to meet social equity standards. They said that includes providing technical knowledge to new cannabis businesses, most notably social equity applicants.
“We remain committed to social equity,” said commission Chair Dianna Houenou. “We promised to build this market on the pillars of social equity and safety. Ultimately, we hope to see businesses and a workforce that reflect the diversity of the state, and local communities that are positively impacted by this new and growing industry.”
Wesley McWhite III, the commission’s director of diversity and inclusion, said:
“We know that drug prohibition laws have through history disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities – and continue to do so … Weed For Sale. A socially equitable cannabis market will have substantial representation of those communities in employment and in ownership”