New Jersey Cannabis Most Expensive In The Nation: State Senator Has A Solution For Medicinal Users

Zinger Key Points
  • New Jersey’s cannabis prices remain the highest in the U.S., prompting lawmakers to propose home cultivation and price caps.
  • State Sen. Troy Singleton’s bills aim to allow medical patients to grow their own cannabis or to cap prices, addressing the financial strain

New Jersey's cannabis market has grown rapidly, with nearly $1 billion in sales last year. The state has over 130 licensed dispensaries, up from 24 in early 2023. Adults over 21 can purchase up to one ounce of cannabis with a state-issued photo ID. Cannabis prices range from $20 to $70, and the state imposes a 6.625% sales tax, with local taxes bringing the total to 10-12%. But, there is an issue: New Jersey has one of the most expensive cannabis in the U.S.

With retail sales starting in April 2022, prices remain high, with flowers costing around $50 for 3.5g and pre-rolls at $16 each. In this scenario, medicinal users face significant financial burdens. This situation has led state Senator Troy Singleton (D) to propose two potential solutions: home cultivation and price caps.

Price Caps On New Jersey Medical Cannabis

State officials acknowledge that medical marijuana prices in New Jersey are excessively high.  "Very concerning for many people utilizing medical cannabis,"  said Singleton, who has been a long-term cannabis reform advocate, and who also introduced a bill in March that would allow the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission to cap prices on medical cannabis. The model is based on Pennsylvania’s approach, which permits state officials to cap prices if they become “unreasonable or excessive.” Singleton’s bill would allow for six-month intervals of price caps, aiming to lower prices by putting pressure on the market.

Chris Goldstein, a marijuana advocate, argues that large corporations’ control over the market has kept prices high despite promises of more competition. For instance, an eighth of cannabis costs $65 at Ascend Wellness AAWH in Fort Lee, while it costs only $15 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The high prices have led to a decline in medical marijuana program enrollment since recreational cannabis was legalized. Singleton’s price-fixing legislation could open access to affordable cannabis for patients with severe medical conditions.

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Home Cultivation for NJ Medical Users

Another alternative that has been circulating the NJ legislature is to legalize home cultivation. This would provide the option for medicinal users to produce their cannabis, which is a legal option in other states and a proven method around the world. Like with price caps, Singleton also introduced another bill that would allow medical marijuana patients or their caregivers to register as home cultivators. This would enable them to grow up to four mature marijuana plants and four immature plants.

In the past, efforts to legalize home cultivation fell flat in New Jersey, where it is punishable by three to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine. While the market is thriving, the state’s medical cannabis program has been slow to grow, since health insurance does not cover medical marijuana costs, making it an unfeasible option for many patients. Both price caps and home cultivation bills aim to address these issues, making medical cannabis more accessible and affordable for those in need.

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsMarketsCannabiseventsGarden StateHome CultivationNew JerseynewsPrice capTroy Singletonupdate
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