By: Jordyn Raymon
Date: May 20, 2021
In November 2020, New Jersey became the 17th state to legalize marijuana. The marijuana industry is slowly growing and becoming accepted in New Jersey. Medical dispensaries started to open up, and it is likely weed sales will be legal for those 21 and up soon to follow. However, it is uncertain when this will happen because even though Governor Phil Murphy signed a law regarding cannabis use being legal for those 21 and older, the Cannabis Regulatory Commissions must develop rules and regulations for the industry and license dispensaries, which could take months to process.
On May 7th, 2021, the Canadian owned company, TerrAscend, opened their second medical marijuana dispensary in Maplewood called the Apothecarium (their first dispensary opened in Philipsburg in November). The new Apothecarium is TerrAscend’s largest East Coast dispensary, and they expect to see high demand for patients in Essex County. The words “High. Hello. Welcome.” greet patients as they walk into the store. In the store, there is a large dispensary room with glass display cases showing off products. Patients can even smell different strains of cannabis at one of the display tables. TerrAscend has goals to be one of the best upcoming companies, and they are even planning on opening a third dispensary in New Jersey this summer. Additionally, once weed sales are legal, they are hoping to serve to adults 21 and up. Executive chairman, Jason Wild, quotes “In my view, this is going to be one of the top dispensaries in the country.”
Once sales are legal, it is likely that medical dispensaries will have priority at selling to those 21 and older. They must prove that they have enough cannabis for patients and new customers. This may be tough because the supply has been a problem in New Jersey since the state has 107,000 patients, and only 17 dispensaries. Once the law is passed that sales are legal for those 21 and up, towns have until mid-August to decide if they want to pass regulations restricting any part of the cannabis industry. These towns can decide any regulations related to growing or selling marijuana. After these rules are in place, companies can see where in New Jersey they are allowed to sell.
New Jersey is new to legalization and more and more dispensaries should be opening in the coming months. As marijuana becomes more popular in New Jersey, it is likely it will become more accepted as well. We must be optimistic that a majority of New Jersey’s towns appreciate the marijuana industry and will not force harsh restrictions towards growing and selling marijuana. I only hope to see more companies like TerrAscend grow in New Jersey.
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