State Watch

New Jersey to start recreational marijuana sales Thursday

Julio Cortez/ AP
Marijuana buds are seen in a prescription bottle as they are sorted at Compassionate Care Foundation’s grow house, Friday, March 22, 2019, in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

New Jersey is set to begin marijuana sales Thursday, as residents and visitors 21 years and older will be able to legally purchase recreational cannabis and cannabis products at 13 dispensaries across the state.

Recreational cannabis customers will be able to buy up to 1 ounce of dried flower, up to 5 grams of concentrates, resins or oils, or ten 100mg packages of ingestible items in a single transaction, according to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

“We encourage everyone to be safe – buy only from licensed dispensaries and start low and go slow. Remember that the laws against impaired driving apply to being high,” New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission executive director Jeff Brown said in a statement.

He added that the dispensaries can meet demand without disrupting patient access to New Jersey residents who have a doctor-certified need for marijuana. 

“Our guests from neighboring states should remember it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines.”

The dispensaries are located in North Jersey, in suburbs near New York City, Central Jersey and South Jersey, near Philadelphia.

However, the state specifically chose not to launch sales on 4/20, the unofficial day of celebration of marijuana around the world, instead choosing to launch a day later on Thursday, April 21.

“Selecting 4/20 for opening day would have presented unmanageable logistical challenges for patients and other buyers, surrounding communities, and for municipalities,” a spokesperson for the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, Toni-Anne Blake, told NJ.com.

This move comes two years after New Jersey residents voted to amend their state’s constitution in order to legalize marijuana.

“This is a historic step,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) wrote on Twitter as he announced the official start date.

According to The New York Times, New Jersey has received more than 320 applications from startup businesses that are interested in opening recreational cannabis retail shops throughout the state. 

The House passed legislation in April to legalize marijuana nationwide and eliminate the longstanding criminal penalties for anyone who distributes or possesses it. 

The measure now goes to the Senate. It is unclear if a bill to broadly legalize marijuana could clear the necessary 60 votes to advance in the Senate.  

Tags Marijuana New Jersey Phil Murphy recreational marijuana

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