New Jersey’s Cannabis Market Comes Into Focus

New Jersey’s 13 dispensaries averaged $5 million in sales a week.

Cannabis is proving to be the cash crop its political advocates have hoped it would be. 

New Jersey became the 19th state to allow for the sale of legal recreational cannabis when 12 dispensaries opened for business across the state on April 21. 

Over the next four months, those 12 dispensaries have reported $24 million in sales, regulators said during a recent meeting, the New Jersey Monitor reported

The dispensaries brought in about $5 million each week, according to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. 

“It’s really only a beginning, and I think it shows that there’s a lot of growth left in this market,” said Jeff Brown, executive director of the CRC. 

While New Jersey just approved its 13th dispensary in mid-May, the state has had a soft rollout compared to other states out West. 

Arizona launched its recreational market in January 2021 with 73 facilities. The state reported $32 million in revenue during the first month. New Mexico launched in April with at least 100 stores. Sales there reached nearly $40 million in the first month. 

The 13 facilities conducted 212,000 transactions during the month, according to the commission, including 25,000 in the first two days.  

By some estimates, New Jersey’s cannabis industry represents a $2 billion market.

What’s Next for New Jersey

During May’s meeting, 46 new conditional licenses were awarded, including 22 cultivation licenses, 13 manufacturing licenses, 11 retail licenses, and four testing facilities. 

It is unclear when those 11 new retailers will be able to begin sales as there are still local regulatory hurdles to overcome. 

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for June 23. The commission will begin issuing quarterly reports on the number of licenses given to “people of color, women, and veterans” at the next meeting.

The state’s cannabis legislation requires that 30% of licensees fit into those categories. 

The state permits consumption of weed only on private property, meaning no smoking on the sidewalk, at the beach or outside restaurants and bars. And private residences, like apartment buildings, can ban smoking in their facilities if they so choose.

Of the 19 states that have legalized weed, New Jersey, Illinois and Washington are the only ones that prohibit cultivation of cannabis plants without a license.

Going even further, New Jersey is the only state that still prohibits medical-marijuana patients from growing cannabis at home. 

New Jersey Is Now in the Cannabis Business

New Jersey will permit seven companies, all of which are already medical-cannabis providers, to sell the drug at 13 dispensaries across the state.

Curaleaf  (CURLF)  is one of the seven that will have access to that market and other markets in the region.

“We are continuing to build scale and progress in all of our markets. What we are most anxious for is getting the Northeast up and running for adult use,” Curaleaf Chief Executive Joseph Bayern told TheStreet. 

Curaleaf will have three dispensaries in the southwest of the state, along U.S. Route 130, across the Delaware River from Pennsylvania. 

Part of the reason Curaleaf was granted one of the seven golden tickets is that it already has the infrastructure in place to serve customers.

“I think we are very well positioned. Unlike many other [multistate operators,] we have been investing in the space,” Bayern said.

“We have opened up two new stores in the state. We believe that we are as prepared, if not better prepared, than any other players in the market.”

Other players in the market include Green Thumb’s  (GTBIF)  Rise dispensary. There are two RISE locations, including one in Paterson, the largest city in the state to be home to a dispensary. The other is in Bloomfield.

The New York investment firm Acreage Holdings  (ACRHF)  holds another seller’s license. Less than two years ago it purchased New Jersey’s Compassionate Care Foundation (medical cannabis) for $10 million.

Verano of Chicago, Columbia Care, Ascend Wellness Holdings  (AAWH) , and TerrAscend  (TRSSF)  have also been granted licenses, along with Green Thumb, Acreage and Curaleaf. 

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