New Jersey's long-awaited launch of its recreational cannabis market just got the green light. Regulators agreed that seven medical marijuana shops will be allowed to begin sales, possibly within weeks, after a series of disappointing setbacks and 17 months since cannabis was legalized at the ballot box in a referendum.
The five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) had been under increasing political pressure to launch the state’s recreational cannabis market. On Monday the board finally voted to permit seven of the state’s 10 medical cannabis companies to start sales.
Jeff Brown, the commission’s executive director, said at a special meeting that the medical marijuana companies, known as alternative treatment centers or ATCs, had presented convincing evidence that they were ready for recreational sales.
“Over the last year we hit many milestones and all strengthened us to getting to this point,” Brown said.“We do not see market-wide concerns with moving these ATCs forward.”
“This is good news. Cannabis prohibition is finally coming to an end. Currently, the black market controls 100% of adult recreational cannabis sales. This will bring the purchase and sale into the open, outside of the black market, in a safe and quality-controlled market. It’s not just about the tax revenue; it’s about social justice and safety,” John Fanburg, co-chair of the Cannabis Industry Law Practice at Brach Eichler told Benzinga via email.
When the CRC met in late March and postponed and rejected eight applications from medical marijuana dispensaries, tempers flared and disappointment abounded.
The treatments centers, which are owned by multi-state operators, that have been given the green light include Acreage Holdings ACRDF, Ascend Wellness, AAWH AAWH, AYR Wellness AYR AYRWF, Columbia Care CCHW CCHW CCHWF, Curaleaf CURLF, Green Thumb GTBIF, TerrAscend TRSSF and Verano Holdings VRNOF VRNOF, all of which have been eager to get sales started in the Garden State.
The approved centers and their satellite shops will be the only facilities selling cannabis initially to both the medical and recreational market in the Garden State until smaller cultivators given conditional approval by the panel can get their operations moving, reported NJ.com
Photo by Manisha Raghunath on Unsplash
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