Apr 2022

Legal Recreational Marijuana Use Slated to Begin 4/21 

It wasn’t that long ago when “420” was still an effective code among weed smokers. However, as sanctioned marijuana use gained traction, the term lost its underground associations and entered the mainstream lexicon. Nowadays, almost everyone knows what 420 means—everyone, that is, except the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.  

An Ironic One-Day Delay 

In February, citing a series of setbacks, the CRC pushed back the pending start date for legal weed sales in the Garden State until April 21. The irony of not being able to legally consume cannabis until after 4/20—the defacto holiday for stoners everywhere—isn’t lost on consumers or on the dispensaries eager to throw open their doors to all New Jersey residents over the age of 21.  

Voters in the state had overwhelmingly approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes, with some 67% in favor and only 33% opposed, way back in November 2020. Since then, eager tokers who don’t have a medical marijuana card have been frustrated by the numerous delays. 

What’s the Holdup? 

Even though dispensaries for medical marijuana have been up and running for well over a decade, it hasn’t been easy to sort out the complications surrounding the recreational market. Some issues include the question of whether supply will be able to meet demand, the hurdle of laws that restrict dispensaries located near schools, and licensing restrictions imposed by local governments—approximately 70% of New Jersey towns have banned dispensaries in their jurisdiction.  

Even in the localities that will allow marijuana sales for recreational purposes, there are steep financial barriers to overcome. In Bayonne, NJ, simply applying for a license to grow or produce pot will set companies back a jaw-dropping $10,000; a dispensary license application is a steal at only $5,000. If the grower’s application is approved, they’ll be subject to an annual registration fee of $40,000. 

The industry is expected to net the state some $300 million in tax revenue, so everyone involved in NJ’s cannabis trade has a powerful incentive to overcome these obstacles. 

Closing Thoughts 

New cannabis companies are finding it difficult to locate space to operate, but already established medical marijuana businesses are in place and ready to open their doors to the general public. And, naturally, many folks have cash in hand and a bong at the ready. 

Will you be partaking in recreational pot? Do you think it should be legal at all? If you have questions concerning cannabis and your business, contact attorney Carrie Ward at (856) 354-7700 or cward@earpcohn.com.